/ Gaia fall

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Daniel Heath - on 16 Aug 2010
Hi all

I'm thinking of top-roping Gaia with a view to leading it. My logbook's nothing in prep for this but I'm obsessed with the route. If I can do the first move it looks like the rest is possible.

So the fall. Is it worth taking?

I'd no doubt have a second rope held out right. Is this enough to prevent any broken limbs?

It's hard to make a judgement on the actual risk, so advice from people in the know would be great.

Cheers
Coel Hellier - on 16 Aug 2010
In reply to DHeath4:

Don your asbestos suit and hide in a bunker.
jkarran - on 16 Aug 2010
In reply to DHeath4:

Just give it a go, if you don't get shut down by the pull into the grove you're then in a position to decide how *you* feel about it which is ultimately all that matters when you're sticking your neck out.

jk
Daniel Heath - on 16 Aug 2010
In reply to Coel Hellier:

Haha yeah I'm sorry if people find this unethical, but each in his own style!

To make it clear. My partner and I will not wreck the route or leave chalk/tick marks on it!

Ok hope I'm safe from the ethics Police now...
ChrisHolloway1 - on 16 Aug 2010
Coel Hellier - on 16 Aug 2010
In reply to DHeath4:

> Ok hope I'm safe from the ethics Police now...

It's not only the ethics, of top-roping, it's the idea that someone might take on Gaia without quite a bit more of a big-E-number ticklist behind them than your profile suggests.

The answer, by the way, is that it is indeed more or less possible to fall off the top of Gaia and escape unscathed, but only just in a ground-skimming way, and the "unscathed" is by no means guaranteed. There are quite a few videos around of people doing just that (google them).
ChrisHolloway1 - on 16 Aug 2010
In reply to ChrisHolloway1: Sorry could resist :P
ChrisHolloway1 - on 16 Aug 2010
In reply to ChrisHolloway1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kK7DfNZLK9E this one might put you off!
Cragrat Rich on 16 Aug 2010
In reply to DHeath4:
> Hi all
>
>
> So the fall. Is it worth taking?

I don't know... but it definately worth avoiding! ;)
Daniel Heath - on 16 Aug 2010
> It's not only the ethics, of top-roping, it's the idea that someone might take on Gaia without quite a bit more of a big-E-number ticklist behind them than your profile suggests.

Yes I know this would seem irresponsible if I decided to lead it. But it seems the E-grade on Gaia is due purely to the big fall potential. This is a "known" factor and one that could be dealt with. I'd only lead it if I felt there were no more unknowns to deal with, eliminating the need, in my mind, for years of E-grade experience.
Daniel Heath - on 16 Aug 2010
In reply to ChrisHolloway1:

Cheers Chris. That's really made my day...
(I'm not!)
Eagle River - on 16 Aug 2010
In reply to DHeath4:

I admire your confidence and good luck with your attempt. I would guess (in true arm-chair observer fashion) that getting into the groove will be a bit stiff if your best bouldering grade represents your current strengths as I remember Lisa Rands (who has bouldered V10 I think?) really struggling with it.

southern sam - on 16 Aug 2010
You climb E1, it took Lisa Rands some effort and working to do the intial move into the grove,she climbs what E9? Have you actually thought about what your proposing?
ChrisHolloway1 - on 16 Aug 2010
In reply to DHeath4: Always pleased to help :D
Pagan - on 16 Aug 2010
In reply to DHeath4:

3/10.

You've got nothing on DJViper.
mark s - on 16 Aug 2010
In reply to DHeath4:
> [...]
>
> Yes I know this would seem irresponsible if I decided to lead it. But it seems the E-grade on Gaia is due purely to the big fall potential. This is a "known" factor and one that could be dealt with. I'd only lead it if I felt there were no more unknowns to deal with, eliminating the need, in my mind, for years of E-grade experience.

That's right,because the people who have fallen off it are right punters :-) go and set a rope and try it,nothing stoppin you.never done it but it was one I used to want to do.the move into the groove is suppose to be hard.and the top,even if its 6a/b ,up there it will feel very scarey.
Daniel Heath - on 16 Aug 2010
Thanks for your varied replies.

You are right to doubt my ability. I don't pretent to be very good, and am not naive enough to pin my hopes on it.

Yes it looks like plenty of good climbers have failed the first move. Don't worry, if I don't feel confident, I won't do it.
Ade7 on 16 Aug 2010
In reply to DHeath4: Failing on the first move isnít a problem, itís failing on the top move you have to worry about.
dirtbag1 - on 16 Aug 2010
In reply to DHeath4:
The first move isn't hard, but the last move is insecure, that makes it all about safety margins and (going off this thread/your profile) yours will be very small.
Good luck with everything.
D
In reply to dirtbag1:
>
> The first move isn't hard, b


Really? Way back when (long before the route was done) several Peak hotshots failed to toprope the move into the groove - including the great John Allen!


Chris
mkean - on 16 Aug 2010
In reply to dirtbag1:

> The first move isn't hard

Any other contenders for Sandbag of the year?

Jon Read - on 16 Aug 2010
In reply to DHeath4:
> ... But it seems the E-grade on Gaia is due purely to the big fall potential. This is a "known" factor and one that could be dealt with.

Here you do show your naivety, or your trolling skills. No, clearly the grade on Gaia reflects more than the fall potential; it's hard climbing (that's REALLY hard for you and your logbook) too, and in a dangerous situation mostly. Have a go, but I'll be amazed if you top-rope it in a one-er let alone think about leading it. Good luck.
Jon Read - on 16 Aug 2010
In reply to mkean:
That move can be much easier for the tall ones. Felt like hard 6c to little old me.
mkean - on 16 Aug 2010
In reply to Jon Read:
> That move can be much easier for the tall ones. Felt like hard 6c to little old me.

Smashing I'll have a pop at it then, how many mats do you think I'd need to make the top safe?

:-)

conorcussell - on 16 Aug 2010
In reply to mkean: One on your back and one on your front, you should be fine...
Ian Broome - on 16 Aug 2010
In reply to DHeath4:
> [...]
>
> Yes I know this would seem irresponsible if I decided to lead it. But it seems the E-grade on Gaia is due purely to the big fall potential.

Surely its the big fall potenial and doing 6c moves over the big fall potential otherwise if it was 5c it would be E4??

victorclimber - on 16 Aug 2010
In reply to DHeath4: wind up right ?
Tom Last - on 16 Aug 2010
In reply to mkean:

Just grab the top Mike, it's worked before!
mkean - on 16 Aug 2010
In reply to Southern Man:
> Just grab the top Mike, it's worked before!

Gaia look a tiny bit too high for that, maybe with a good run-up? Fancy spotting me?
Dan J M on 16 Aug 2010
In reply to DHeath4:

Why are you asking this on here. You'll be better informed once you've had your top rope on it. Is the opinion of a bunch of strangers the best preparation before taking on a E1(E3) to E8 grade leap?
Tom Last - on 16 Aug 2010
In reply to mkean:

Oh go on. Might not manage it after work these days though!
Byronius Maximus - on 16 Aug 2010
In reply to DHeath4:

Why not show the route some respect and come back to try it when you have a fighting chance of getting up it (whether that be on top rope or not). You're looking at trying something which is SEVEN grades harder than your current hardest onsight.
I realise I sound like a cock saying this, and it's not about the ethics of top roping as I have nothing against that, but if the route inspires you that much, why not use it as motivation to train and do it in half decent style (e.g. when you are good enough to top rope it after a few tries)?
Based on your logbook, even top roping it is unrealistic at the moment so you having nothing to worry about with regards to the fall from the top.

If you're insistent on doing it then good luck and I hope you prove me wrong :)
Duncan Campbell - on 16 Aug 2010
In reply to DHeath4: mate, get in contact with peteblair you could togther become a superstar team going around posting BS about hard routes all over the country and then maybe, just maybe, around the world!

in all seriousness, george ullrich tried to flash it and hes just a bit handy at this climbing malarky..and he didnt he also had that second rope to the right you talked aboutand it didnt see to help much when it started distracting it....id get a bit better if i was you because, tbh your not nearly good enough.....sorry to be harsh
Derek O - on 16 Aug 2010
In reply to DHeath4:

Why don't you go try it out on top rope, theres no harm. Then you will see where people are coming from when they tell you to get real! ;)
Daniel Heath - on 16 Aug 2010
In reply to DHeath4:

I have plenty of other routes that have inspired me to improve. I'm saving these for when I am more experienced (mostly E2/E3). There is no shortage of routes for this purpose, so saving it is not an issue.

This route has captivated me for over a year, so I can't help but try the moves.

Sorry to evoke so many emotions. This was not intentional.
Michael Hood - on 16 Aug 2010
In reply to DHeath4: After top-roping it (or trying), please do come back on here and tell us how you got on, what your thoughts were (e.g. no way, never, or maybe, I could do this, or I'll have to get this much better to give it a proper go).

Although there are lots of people who say that it's too hard for you, lots of advances in grades have been made by people who ignore all that and just go for it - even if it involves lots of hard work to get there. So give it a go.
sutty on 16 Aug 2010
In reply to DHeath4:

Try Demon Rib as a warm up to see if you can move on that.

Just had a look at your climbs list, nothing over HVS5b on sight yet, in fact don't think you have let any HVS on sight yet so doubt you will get off the ground so don't damage the moves till you have done.

This time next year maybe.
highclimber - on 16 Aug 2010
In reply to DHeath4: when you get round to leading it, let us know and I'll bring the beers and the camera.
subalpine - on 16 Aug 2010
In reply to DHeath4: Our mission is to provide an environment in which young people are enabled and encouraged to reach the very highest academic and personal standards and so fulfil their own career objectives while meeting the MOD's requirement for highly skilled technical graduate Officers
Franco Cookson on 16 Aug 2010
In reply to southern sam:
> You climb E1, it took Lisa Rands some effort and working to do the intial move into the grove,she climbs what E9?

Lisa Rands doesn't climb E9.

@ndyM@rsh@ll - on 16 Aug 2010
In reply to DHeath4: What Dirtbag says about THE move not being hard is true in relative terms, and Lisa Rands has bouldered V12 and found it to be the hardest part, though it is certainly the safest. But top roping or otherwise you are not going to able to do that move at the moment, you are just not strong enough going by your ticklist. I've not seen that move in the flesh nor tried it myself, but to be brit 6c then you'd have to be bouldering V5/6 as an absolute minimum.
Orgsm on 16 Aug 2010
In reply to DHeath4:

top rope it, get someone to photograph your efforts, then report back, we'll check the photos and give you a verdict on whether you're ready for the lead. Make sure the photos show the timings of the moves, and no tight ropes to assist.
tallsop on 16 Aug 2010
In reply to DHeath4: Just try it ground up and HOPE you dont get past the first move ;)
Jamie B - on 16 Aug 2010
In reply to Franco C:

> Lisa Rands doesn't climb E9.

Would I be right in saing that by your criteria nobody does?

I think Lisa had headpointed E8 (End of the Affair), so she's clearly no punter.

Jamie B - on 16 Aug 2010
In reply to DHeath4:

I think there is a precedent here; didnt Thomas de Gay headpoint it when his previous best mark was E4?

Which does get me wondering what the average E1-leader (if there is such a thing) might be capable of headpointing if they were prepared to siege a route ruthlessly and systematically?

Anybody got any thoughts?
Anonymous on 16 Aug 2010 - cpc1-renf1-0-0-cust268.renf.cable.virginmedia.com
In reply to DHeath4: There seem to be a lot of folk on here telling you you cant do something, when they themselves dont have the priveledge of personal experience with the route.
It's not impossible to jump a significant number of grades, perhaps your climbing well within your limit at HVS/E1. A few years ago I jumped from VS to E3 because like you the line was inspirational and I felt it would be a good test of capability.

I reckon if youve got the brass, go for it mate!
Derbyshire Ben on 16 Aug 2010 - 82.132.139.200 whois?
In reply to Jamie Bankhead:

It has an English 6c tech (power) move on it to get established in the groove. No average E1 leader is going to manage that however much sieging.

To the OP. Go for it. It might inspire you even more to continue climbing and training for years to come.
Quarryboy - on 16 Aug 2010
In reply to DHeath4: What I think on this...
Firstly
Do you realise that there is a HVS traverse which goes up just to the underbelly of the grove to where you place the cams for it. (you might not even make it to the bottom of the actual route)

Seriously though dude I know how it feels to have an urge to climb a route which feels desperate and beyond your limit. For a while I spent some time shunting an E6 and could barely do the crux move on my shunt. Even after several sessions it seemed like I was getting no where.

HOWEVER don't get wound up about it. Your profile says you are only 18 and its not like Gaia is going to fall down any time soon. Relax try it on top rope and then do like 1000 other routes in the E3-E7 range then you'll be ready. Don't rush it though I mean think about how shit you will feel being wedged at thee top of that grove thinking you might die, and then you take a groundfall and feel as though you never want to go climbing again think about how mutch that experiance would suck.
Andy S - on 17 Aug 2010
In reply to DHeath4: well for all the flamers on here, they're forgetting that you ARE getting on it on a top-rope first. So therefore, if it's too hard for you, you won't be getting on it on lead anyway. So I'm not worried. To be honest, I doubt very much you can lead it at the moment, but maybe I'm wrong. Just get on it and make your own mind up!
Jamie B - on 17 Aug 2010
In reply to Derbyshire Ben:

> It has an English 6c tech (power) move on it to get established in the groove. No average E1 leader is going to manage that however much sieging.

Are you sure? There do seem to be a lot of climbers around these days whose trad lead grade is way below their technical ability.

If not E7 6c, what sort of grades do you think a solid E1 leader could siege into submission? Lets say for the sake of argument that the hypothetical leader always gets up E1 5c first time on lead.
Toerag - on 17 Aug 2010
In reply to Jamie Bankhead:
> If not E7 6c, what sort of grades do you think a solid E1 leader could siege into submission? Lets say for the sake of argument that the hypothetical leader always gets up E1 5c first time on lead.

It depends on the sort of climb - an unprotected E4 5c slab would be relatively easy for them, a pumpy, strenuous E4 6a would be hard. I would highly recommend anyone climbing at E1 or below to get on some harder things on a toprope to dispel the aura of the big grades. Personally I'm leading VS 5a with more or less no trouble, but I can toprope E2 5c clean having been an E1 5b leader in my youth.
southern sam - on 17 Aug 2010
In reply to Franco C: My mistake E8, but im sure you see the point im making.
jkarran - on 17 Aug 2010
In reply to Jamie Bankhead:

> (In reply to Derbyshire Ben)
> Are you sure? There do seem to be a lot of climbers around these days whose trad lead grade is way below their technical ability.

The pull into the Gaia groove is apparently *very* hard. There's a big difference between being solid at E1 and having enough in the tank to smoothly crank out a V7/8 crux when required.

> If not E7 6c, what sort of grades do you think a solid E1 leader could siege into submission? Lets say for the sake of argument that the hypothetical leader always gets up E1 5c first time on lead.

I'd have thought someone very solid at E1 5c could actually be onsighting carefully chosen E3/4. I'd not describe myself as anything like solid at E1 (VS maybe). Redpointing a carefully chosen E5 would be fairly easy, in fact I can think of an E7 that's pretty straightforward on a toprope and would feel ok with practice... beyond that with a protracted siege, who knows.

I was having a similar discussion last night about what a long siege is worth in terms of grade over your normal quick redpoint grade (albeit in a sport context). My gut feeling is a French letter grade but it'd be interesting to hear other people's real world experiences, it's not something I've ever tried, if I can't do the moves on the first few goes I walk away.

OP: If you just want to get on an E8 there are other choices without nasty hard cruxes. On the other hand Gaia is a spectacular line... Go for it, surprise the naysayers (me included). You'll not come to any harm figuring out for yourself how it feels to climb. The fall is obviously dangerous, it's a long long way into a space filled with 3d rock very close to the floor, you could be fine or you could stove your skull in, it's a risk you choose to take (or don't).
jk
Quiddity - on 17 Aug 2010
In reply to DHeath4:

There was a guy on here a couple of years ago, really psyched and clearly quite talented, who set himself the goal of climbing font 8a. He had the motivation and quite possibly the talent to do it, the reason he failed was he set himself a completely unrealistic time frame - about six months to make a jump of about five grades IIRC.

While I think in all likelihood you would need to significantly up your game before Gaia is a realistic proposition, it is a good and inspiring long term goal and gives you a reason to get better.

Yes, sometimes people do make huge jumps in ability over a short space of time - however these are the outliers on the bell curve. It's always nice to think that you have natural talent on your side and and you can do in months what took others years, but statistically, the overwheming probability is that what is required is small incremental gains won through hard work. A lot of hard work. I think the thing that stops most people achieving their climbing goals is rarely lack of talent, it's lack of effort over a sustained period of time. People just underestimate how much effort is required to make a step change in their climbing ability, and how long it will take.

This is a long winded way of saying try it on a top rope, see how hard it feels. Perhaps you will try it and find that you have untapped ability and go on to tick it very quickly - and this would be a fantastic success story - but don't get discouraged if this turns out to not be the case. Take it as a reason to go away and put the required hours in. Then when you do it, write an article about what it took to go from HVS to E8. That would be proper inspirational.
John Roberts (JR) - on 17 Aug 2010
In reply to DHeath4:

I did try to reply to your email to me, but it got returned with a maildelivery error.

So....

Flash as it was when I tried it it's risky. Pretty much all E8s are, but I didn't think I was going to fall off when I tried as that's what you have to believe on bold flashes.

You probably shouldn't even consider climbing it at all until you're ready for it. It is f7b maybe 7b+. It's a classic route and would never advocate top roping it just to see if you can do it, without a much stronger pedigree of routes below your belt. For headpoints you should be going in knowing you can lead it if you can climb it relatively easily. It's not cutting edge headpointing E8 these days and I think headpoints of these routes should be done with minimum footprint, not battering into submission. So why not save it for a few years until you know you can do it? Time served climbing counts for a lot on hard bold routes. There's plenty of incredible routes out there which are "easier" which would help you get to where you want to be.

It's not that I'm against headpointing at all, I've done a far bit myself, but I think you have to pick your routes that you headpoint into the ground to help you progress and pick the ones you leave until you can flash or headpoint very quickly. Make sure you're comfortable that you're not going to regret the style you climbed it in.

BTW the move into the groove is quite hard, but being tall makes it much easier (V6/7!?) don't expect it to be easy once you get in the groove.

That's just my opinion but good luck either way, and take care.
petellis - on 17 Aug 2010
In reply to Jamie Bankhead:

> If not E7 6c, what sort of grades do you think a solid E1 leader could siege into submission? Lets say for the sake of argument that the hypothetical leader always gets up E1 5c first time on lead.

I've seen an VS/HVS leader headpoint E7, there just isn't a rule for this sort of thing.

If the OP is obsessed by Gaia then he should just get on it. He'll either work it to death and get it lead (great!), or get utterly spanked and walk away.
Daniel Heath - on 17 Aug 2010
In reply to DHeath4:

Thank you all

The more I look at that move, in the variety of ways different climbers have done it, the more it looks really really hard.

I'm a lot stronger than I need to be for my trad grade, but I admit at this stage I don't "expect" to be able to do move one.

I've made my decision about the style, and I can't wait to try it.
(Also, if I do well with it, I won't be claiming to be an E8 climber by any stretch of the imagination. I still accept a long progression for that kind of status)
Coel Hellier - on 17 Aug 2010
In reply to petellis:

> If the OP is obsessed by Gaia then he should just get on it. He'll either work it to death [...]

Out of interest, do people consider it acceptable to work classic hard grit routes "to death" on a rope, with attendant wear and polish, if you have no realistic chance of doing it (or even if you do)?

I've done a limited amount of rop-roping of routes out of my league, but only where I've got a good chance of a clean, first-time ascent; I wouldn't work them repeatedly.
Coel Hellier - on 17 Aug 2010
In reply to jkarran:

> I'd not describe myself as anything like solid at E1 (VS maybe). [...] I can think of an E7 that's
> pretty straightforward on a toprope and would feel ok with practice...

Please tell us which one! I quite like the sound of an E7 that a solid-VS leader thinks "would feel ok".
Pagan - on 17 Aug 2010
In reply to petellis:

> I've seen an VS/HVS leader headpoint E7, there just isn't a rule for this sort of thing.

I've never understood statements like this. Clearly your mate wasn't trying very hard before - someone for whom VS/HVS their limit is not capable of climbing E7, headpoint or not.
Hugh Cottam - on 17 Aug 2010
In reply to Coel Hellier:

I wonder what grade Gaia will be once it's got a similar polish to say Crack and Corner at Stanage?
jkarran - on 17 Aug 2010
In reply to Coel Hellier:

Firestone was the one I was thinking of, 12m or so of slab padding, technical crux at ~10ft. The mockery's obvious Coel but if you're genuinely interested I really would suggest you go have a look, it'd be frightening to onsight for sure but it's not hard climbing once got it figured out.

jk
mkean - on 17 Aug 2010
In reply to jkarran:
Isn't firestone supposed to be very tenuous? The video I've seen of it made it look like moving your feet was like playing russian roulette! Never mind onsighting it I wouldn't fancy headpointing it. I suppose you could always try running down it :-)
jkarran - on 17 Aug 2010
In reply to mkean:

It's thin yeah but there are bits and bobs for your feet. Hard to think of what to compare it with really, it's an unusual piece of rock.
jk
Pagan - on 17 Aug 2010
In reply to jkarran:

http://www.ukclimbing.com/logbook/c.php?i=128682

Clearly it was a bit much for you then. What makes you think another 'VS leader' would be fine with it?
Blue Straggler - on 17 Aug 2010
In reply to Pagan:

Intro to Malta climbing guidebook describes an E4 onsight by a lady who had never led harder than VS before. It didn't state what she had done on second but there was an implication that it was not much harder than VS (in my own interpretation of the text). I don't have the book so can't check.
Coel Hellier - on 17 Aug 2010
In reply to jkarran:

> The mockery's obvious Coel but if you're genuinely interested I really would suggest you go
> have a look, it'd be frightening to onsight for sure but it's not hard climbing once got it figured out.

Hmmm, I think there's a bit of a mis-match here. Above you described yourself as a "solid-VS" leader but your profile says you've onsighted E4 and F7a and worked V7 and F7b. That is quite a bit beyond "solid VS"!

Yep, I'll agree that someone with that record might fairly readily top-rope an E7 that gets E7 owing to zero gear, and might just about head-point it with extensive practice.
Pagan - on 17 Aug 2010
In reply to Blue Straggler:

Well clearly it can happen - I'm not denying that our hero just up the thread climbed this E7, whichever one it was. But describing him as a VS/HVS climber (implying that this was his limit) is a bit much.

Someone who never led harder than VS suddenly climbing E4 is still quite a jump but not unreasonable if VS was in fact not that hard for her previously (i.e. she was well within her comfort zone). There are a lot of E4 5c's out there and 5c moves can be fluked in one way or another by most VS leaders. I think you'd struggle to say the same for 6b/c moves though, as you'd get on many E7s. Does that make sense? I'm not sure I've explained that very well.
jkarran - on 17 Aug 2010
In reply to Pagan:

I never claimed I'd lead it, I had a hour max on it as we walked out. Nor have I said any other 'VS leader would be fine with it', you made that up.

What I said is I consider myself 'solid' at VS* and I found it ok, I was able to link it relatively quickly and easily. With a little more time it's a very realistic redpoint project for someone comfortable at OS 5c** being not too hard and not too unsafe.

*whatever that means, I'd not solo OS at that level
**where the conversation started out. I'm far from solid at OS 5c
jk
Lumbering Oaf - on 17 Aug 2010
In reply to ChrisHolloway1:
> (In reply to DHeath4) Aren't you that guy from big brother?? http://www.contactmusic.com/news.nsf/story/andrew-takes-corin-to-love-nest_1156139

PML!
Pagan - on 17 Aug 2010
In reply to jkarran:

Sorry, being a bit dim this morning - when Coel said 'solid VS leader' I hadn't realised he was referring to you directly, rather than just all 'solid VS leaders'. My mistake.

Yes, you may be right in that case - although personally I find it easy to get psyched out by tenuous routes like that (I tried top roping a couple with a view to leading them in my misguided past) - I found the 'russian roulette' feel of tenuous smears more than my head could take when it came to contemplating a lead.
jkarran - on 17 Aug 2010
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> Hmmm, I think there's a bit of a mis-match here. Above you described yourself as a "solid-VS" leader but your profile says you've onsighted E4 and F7a and worked V7 and F7b. That is quite a bit beyond "solid VS"!

That's the funny thing about numbers in profiles, they can be unintentionally misleading especially as they are essentially record the peaks of a lengthy climbing 'career', they don't all occur at the same time and are without context. Maybe I shouldn't include them at all or put in what I feel solid at but since everyone else uses 'book grades that'd be equally confusing. My logbook is a much better representation of what I actually do, failures and all. The E4's, 7a and V7 are all soft touch one-offs from days I got lucky. As for the 7b, again, pretty much a one-off siege and redpointing is a different game anyway.

All very different to what I feel 'solid' on. My definition of that is the grade I expect to be able to onsight comfortably, no slapping, no scratching about hopefully, no irreversible moves. At times I'd definitely extend that to HVS but at the moment I'd honestly say VS. Maybe definitions differ?

> Yep, I'll agree that someone with that record might fairly readily top-rope an E7 that gets E7 owing to zero gear, and might just about head-point it with extensive practice.

My max OS and RP last year was about 6b+ (far from comfortable at that) when I tried Firestone, I was onsighting the odd E1, falling off the odd E1. I'm not trying to sandbag anyone, in fact I'd have laughed at the very idea myself had I not tried it. I was only there to belay and very nearly didn't have go figuring it'd be a waste of time putting on shoes.

jk
Misha - on 17 Aug 2010
In reply to Jamie Bankhead:
> If not E7 6c, what sort of grades do you think a solid E1 leader could siege into submission? Lets say for the sake of argument that the hypothetical leader always gets up E1 5c first time on lead.

If we're talking about one or two 6c moves, it may be possible for a 5c leader to do them with lots of specific training, particularly if the moves are in the climber's preferred style of climbing. Even then, this would only be possible for certain moves - I can't see a 5c leader being able to do any 6c move, even with lots of work (they would then be a 6c leader!). I say this as a regular 5c leader. I've never tried doing 6c on routes but I know from bouldering that I'm nowhere near. I see 6a as hard but something I would (and occasionally do) give a go, 6b as nails and 6c as off the scale - even though I tend to have a 'go for it' attitude. You need to know your limits.

The OP is proposing to top rope to see what it's like. No harm in that and I'm sure he'll be able to make up his mind whether he should keep trying or give up. I can see the attraction actually - Gaia doesn't look that hard, but looks aren't all that they seem...
steve webster on 17 Aug 2010 - 10.215.3.66 [inetgw-60-sec.nhs.uk]
In reply to Misha:
thats got to be the biggest load of going.if a 5c leader takes drugs,has surgery or trains specfically then climbs 6c they are no longer a 5c climber at that moment.
Hugh Cottam - on 17 Aug 2010
In reply to steve webster:

I think most E7s can be done by E1 leaders if they try really, really, really hard. Oh, and if it also suits their preferred style. That's why you hear about it happening quite often. It shouldn't be too much of a stretch to extend this to E8. They'll just have to put that little bit of extra uuuummmppphhh in!

It's surprising that so many other climbers bother with working their way remorselessly through the grades.
EasyAndy - on 17 Aug 2010
In reply to steve webster:
> (In reply to Misha)
> thats got to be the biggest load of going.if a 5c leader takes drugs,has surgery or trains specfically then climbs 6c they are no longer a 5c climber at that moment.

disagree

to be considered a 6c climber i reckon you want to be climbing 6c at will, rather than dogging a particular route till you get the sequence right. doing that means you can climb THAT route, it doesnt mean you are going to be able to climb other 6c routes. sandstone is a good example of this. i've seen people complete sandman after a whole lot of trying (6b) and then struggle on TT (5c?) and other climbs rated a lot lower than sandman, stick with something long enough and you will often learn the trick to doing it, but it doesnt always mean you are left with skills that can be transfered to other routes or styles
In reply to Hugh Cottam:
> (In reply to steve webster)
>
> I think most E7s can be done by E1 leaders if they try really, really, really hard. Oh, and if it also suits their preferred style. That's why you hear about it happening quite often. It shouldn't be too much of a stretch to extend this to E8. They'll just have to put that little bit of extra uuuummmppphhh in!
>

Is this really true - times have changed if it is!


Chris
jkarran - on 17 Aug 2010
In reply to steve webster:

> (In reply to Misha)
> thats got to be the biggest load of going.if a 5c leader takes drugs,has surgery or trains specfically then climbs 6c they are no longer a 5c climber at that moment.

I suppose that depends on your definition of a '<certain_grade> climber'. Whether it's someone who can with some work do the occasional move at a particular grade. Someone who can flash the majority of moves at a particular grade. Or someone who is totally solid at a given grade. They're quite different things, I'd be something like 6b, 5a, 4b respectively.

There's a big difference between 6b and 4b.

jk
biped - on 17 Aug 2010
In reply to Chris Craggs:

I think Hugh is having a bit of a larff. (At least I hope so)
@ndyM@rsh@ll - on 17 Aug 2010
In reply to Chris Craggs: Nah, it's bollocks.
Coel Hellier - on 17 Aug 2010
In reply to jkarran:

> I suppose that depends on your definition of a '<certain_grade> climber'. Whether it's someone who
> can with some work do the occasional move at a particular grade. Someone who can flash the majority of
> moves at a particular grade. Or someone who is totally solid at a given grade. ... I'd be something like 6b, 5a, 4b respectively.

I think you're fairly unusual in your grade spread! I'd be more like 6b, 5c and 5b.
Dan J M on 17 Aug 2010
In reply to Coel Hellier:

4b is a step ladder innit?
French Erick - on 17 Aug 2010
In reply to DHeath4:
Nae idea, never looked at it.
It inspires you? so train to f*ck and get it done.

It is worth the risk? That my man is a question only you can answer.

I would say: "suit yourself and try not to get maimed or killed...otherwise you'll never go back to complete it."

I wish I was younger and less risk averse in the head...I don't have the brass anymore for those things but remember the buzz when I had my moments and I think it was selfish...but well worth it.
Gordon Stainforth - on 17 Aug 2010
In reply to Coel Hellier:
> (In reply to jkarran)
>
> [...]
>
> I think you're fairly unusual in your grade spread! I'd be more like 6b, 5c and 5b.

I find it totally bizarre that someone can sometimes manage 6b and yet only be totally solid at 4b. They are just so different, with 4b being relative jug hauling or very easy balance climbing. My spread is (or rather was) 6a, 5b and 5a.
@ndyM@rsh@ll - on 17 Aug 2010
In reply to Gordon Stainforth: Fairly similar spread here, with a gap of one between my top and second, then second and third right next to each other.
Skyfall - on 17 Aug 2010
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:
> (In reply to Coel Hellier)
> [...]
>
> I find it totally bizarre that someone can sometimes manage 6b and yet only be totally solid at 4b. They are just so different, with 4b being relative jug hauling or very easy balance climbing. My spread is (or rather was) 6a, 5b and 5a.

Exactly the same for me, incl grades (more or less).
mattrm - on 17 Aug 2010
In reply to JonC:

4c, 5a and (maybe) 5b. But as my logbook shows I've never actually climbed 5b. Still I feel solid at all the 4c stuff I've come across so far.
jonathan shepherd - on 17 Aug 2010
In reply to DHeath4: I top roped this cleanly in 1988 when i was a lot fitter than i am now and did the move into the groove by reaching through with my left hand because im tall with long arms and the laughable "pocket" that jonny used for his left hand is useless as a hold to me. The last move is very very precarious and as i was and still am a coward I would never have dreamed of trying to lead it.
Jamie B - on 17 Aug 2010
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

> I find it totally bizarre that someone can sometimes manage 6b and yet only be totally solid at 4b.

I think he means he can once in a blue moon boulder 6b moves in safety and isolation, but on a trad lead he doesnt feel 100% comfortable above 4b. This is quite common now; increasingly people dont want to lead trad anywhere near their physical limit. I think my spread when I was going well was 5b,5a,4c!

I cant help thinking that our 100% successful E1 5c leader will have 50% success onsighting 6a moves, and maybe 10-20% success on 6b. This should bring the latter into the "ruthless working into submission" category, no?
Gordon Stainforth - on 17 Aug 2010
In reply to Jamie Bankhead:
> (In reply to Gordon Stainforth)
>
> [...]
>
> I think he means he can once in a blue moon boulder 6b moves in safety and isolation, but on a trad lead he doesnt feel 100% comfortable above 4b. This is quite common now; increasingly people dont want to lead trad anywhere near their physical limit. I think my spread when I was going well was 5b,5a,4c!

Frankly, what you say in your first two sentences makes me nearly want to puke, the fact that in the 21st century the sport of rock climbing can have gone so far backwards. Your spread of grades belongs completely to the old real world in which people just got on with it, without pretensions or hang-ups.
ads.ukclimbing.com
bomb on 17 Aug 2010 - host86-175-116-21.wlms-broadband.com
In reply to DHeath4:

If you toprope this route when you're leading E1 max then you are an idiot. You cannot possibly hope to lead this route in the near future, and toproping it WILL polish up the rock and affect the route for people who actually really do intend to lead it. Don't kid yourself mate it is way beyond you at the moment. Why not try and improve your onsighting grades first?
Gordon Stainforth - on 17 Aug 2010
In reply to bomb:
> (In reply to DHeath4)
>
> If you toprope this route when you're leading E1 max then you are an idiot. You cannot possibly hope to lead this route in the near future, and toproping it WILL polish up the rock and affect the route for people who actually really do intend to lead it. Don't kid yourself mate it is way beyond you at the moment. Why not try and improve your onsighting grades first?

Incredible, isn't it, that even now in 2010, there are folks still wanting to kid themselves about climbing ?
Kemics - on 17 Aug 2010
In reply to DHeath4:

he's managed a few 6c+ sport routes so if he trained, absolutely nailed the sequence and seiged it, not outside the realms of possibility. Unlikely, but there's alot of people p*ssing on parades from their comfy computer chair. It's always good to get a reality check, but never say never...
sutty on 17 Aug 2010
Coel Hellier - on 17 Aug 2010
In reply to Kemics:

> so if he trained, absolutely nailed the sequence and seiged it, ...

But is that acceptable ethics, given the polish and wear it'd cause (and especially given the very low likelihood of it resulting in a lead), and given the iconic status of the route?

All over the Peak gritstone is obviously worn. Thus people should stick to doing routes where they have a decent chance of a clean, first-time ascent. If you want to frig things to death do it indoors on plastic.
bomb on 17 Aug 2010 - host86-175-116-21.wlms-broadband.com
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

Yes. It is incredible that someone who has onsighted E1 at the most (respectable as that is) is talking about headpointing Gaia. It is incredibly naive, and incredibly selfish. There are a million amazing routes on grit that he could onsight before even thinking about headpointing E8. I know its very romantic to say go for it, you never know, but for gods sake be realistic. Im not saying he never could, im saying toproping like that that he will not be leading in the near future is unethical, destructive and selfish. Have you seen downhill racer recently?
Kemics - on 17 Aug 2010
In reply to DHeath4:

Not sure what the ethics would be, obviously preserve a climb but you "can't have your cake and eat it too". Cant preserve iconic climbs but not climbing them.

sutty on 17 Aug 2010
In reply to Kemics:

>Cant preserve iconic climbs but not climbing them.



No, but you can preserve them for the people who CAN climb them by dissuading the ones who can't but want a scrabble to stay off them. Once ruined they will either be harder or impossible. For instance, one E1 I did 50 years ago is now E3, in fact two at least are.
r0x0r.wolfo - on 17 Aug 2010
In reply to Coel Hellier:
> (In reply to Kemics)
>
> [...]
>
> But is that acceptable ethics, given the polish and wear it'd cause (and especially given the very low likelihood of it resulting in a lead), and given the iconic status of the route?
>
> All over the Peak gritstone is obviously worn. Thus people should stick to doing routes where they have a decent chance of a clean, first-time ascent. If you want to frig things to death do it indoors on plastic.

Yeah all those punters polishing those e8s in the peak. Wankers!
Misha - on 18 Aug 2010
In reply to steve webster:
> (In reply to Misha)
> thats got to be the biggest load of going.if a 5c leader takes drugs,has surgery or trains specfically then climbs 6c they are no longer a 5c climber at that moment.

I think you're missing the point. The question was how hard a 5c leader could climb if they seiged a particular route. My answer is 6b, perhaps something with a couple of moves of 6c. That wouldn't make them a 6c leader, just someone who's managed a route with a bit of 6c after a lot of practice. To my mind a 6c leader is someone who leads routes with 6c moves regularly and can do them onsight the vast majority of the time. Which is probably not many people! Same for any grade.

Hardonicus - on 18 Aug 2010
In reply to DHeath4:

What ever happened to having respect for:

a) The route.

b) Yourself.

?
Misha - on 18 Aug 2010
In reply to jkarran:
> Whether it's someone who can with some work do the occasional move at a particular grade. Someone who can flash the majority of moves at a particular grade. Or someone who is totally solid at a given grade. They're quite different things, I'd be something like 6b, 5a, 4b respectively.

Curious. I know plenty of people who are solid at 4b but are nowhere near 5c, never mind 6b! As others have said, a much more compressed range would be more usual. Perhaps you're just being very conservative with your definition of 'totally solid'? To my mind that means being able to onsight any move of that technical level on any rock type, every time and without significant effort. So I'd be 6a, 5c, 5a. Unless you're being unduly harsh on yourself, perhaps what your spread shows is that it is actually possible for someone to crank out some moves way out of their normal range if they try hard enough (and well done for trying!).
Daniel Heath - on 18 Aug 2010
In reply to DHeath4:

I am very aware of polishing the route, especially the smear on the first move. When I am there I will get a better view of it. And if I can tell it's going to take countless failed attempts, I won't do it for that reason.
steve webster on 18 Aug 2010 - 10.215.3.66 [inetgw-60-sec.nhs.uk]
In reply to Misha:
> (In reply to steve webster)
> [...]
>
> I think you're missing the point. The question was how hard a 5c leader could climb if they seiged a particular route. My answer is 6b, perhaps something with a couple of moves of 6c. That wouldn't make them a 6c leader, just someone who's managed a route with a bit of 6c after a lot of practice. To my mind a 6c leader is someone who leads routes with 6c moves regularly and can do them onsight the vast majority of the time. Which is probably not many people! Same for any grade.

actually i wonder if you've missed the point.i said at the time someone had climbed 6c at that moment in time they were not a 5c climber.
what you belive makes a 6c leader is just that, your belief.
this is climbing no rules just peoples ramblings.

jkarran - on 18 Aug 2010
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

>>In reply to Jamie Bankhead:
>> I think he means he can once in a blue moon boulder 6b moves in safety and isolation, but on a trad lead he doesnt feel 100% comfortable above 4b. This is quite common now; increasingly people dont want to lead trad anywhere near their physical limit. I think my spread when I was going well was 5b,5a,4c!

> Frankly, what you say in your first two sentences makes me nearly want to puke, the fact that in the 21st century the sport of rock climbing can have gone so far backwards. Your spread of grades belongs completely to the old real world in which people just got on with it, without pretensions or hang-ups.

Makes you want to puke, really? Is there something so wrong with what Jamie's written. He's very nearly hit the nail on the head:

6b: What I can do occasionally, sometimes onsight, usually not and certainly not every 6b move I try gets done. Mostly bouldering.

5a: Relatively straight forward but there's still a good few stinkers out there that really make me fight. I'm happy to attempt this above a decent runout.

4b: Properly graded 4b is the level at which I'm usually willing to do genuinely dangerous, life threatening climbing. Routes like California Arete @ 4c I won't touch with a bargepole, ok, so it's basically dangerous walking and in reality it'd be physically trivial but that's not what I'm into.

If that makes you want to puke because I'm letting the sport down then you need a reality check. And how you get from me doing some bouldering and not liking dangerous easy climbing to having pretensions I don't know. Pretensions of what anyway, being an enthusiastic but mediocre scaredycat?

Where Jamie missed is the inference that what I've said means I only climb in that <5a comfort zone. I don't, I just choose my routes carefully so as not to be hurt when I do (not infrequently) fail.

jk
gribble - on 18 Aug 2010
In reply to DHeath4:

"so if he trained, absolutely nailed the sequence and seiged it,.."

I may be wrong and about to be generally shouted at, but isn't that an established bouldering technique? Have 200 attempts, finally get it and cheer, claiming the grade?

I see no real problem with a toprope attempt, not sure why you chose to tell people here though. Maybe next time, when you've done Knockin' on Heavens Door you could just post your adventures after the event. Whatever you do though, do not damage the rock and please clean the chalk off after.


jkarran - on 18 Aug 2010
In reply to Misha:

Yeah, I probably am being more conservative with the 4b than most are with their minimum grade, just my nature I guess. Where we don't have fixed definitions there's always scope for confusion. Likewise the 5a, on another day I'd have been tempted to say 5b but I've been shut down at 5b more than usual recently.

jk
SARS on 18 Aug 2010
In reply to DHeath4:

6b climbing - not that hard. I would have thought it would make more sense to do a bit of slopey gritstone bouldering at that level first before bothering to set up a top-rope though. Otherwise could just be a waste of time really.

Personally I've left routes for when I'm ready, just because I like to climb routes at crags I go to in some sensible order. And also because I like to have a decent onsight attempt before I try for the redpoint. That's just me though, plenty others I know pretty much only redpoint.
Lamb - on 18 Aug 2010
In reply to Jamie Bankhead: The best I have lead at present is HVS 5a. I have however managed to top rope with no prior working of moves or abb inspection E3 5b.

I may be way out, however I reckon If the climber was to 'lay siege' on a route with abb inspection, working on shunt, then an 'average' E1 leader could manage something like E5. This is mererly speculative however.
Mick Ward - on 18 Aug 2010
In reply to Lamb:

> ...I reckon If the climber was to 'lay siege' on a route with abb inspection, working on shunt, then an 'average' E1 leader could manage something like E5. This is mererly speculative however.

I'd remain 'mererly speculative', if I were you. It might be safer!

Mick

Lamb - on 18 Aug 2010
In reply to Mick Ward: I know my own limits, not a chance could I work E5 the now. No need to worry.
Hugh Cottam - on 18 Aug 2010
In reply to Lamb:

I think 'average' E1 leaders can potentially lead way harder than that using shunt practice. As long as it suits their style, obviously. Just look at a few peoples' logbooks. There's lots of examples of people generally leading around HVS to E1, then every now and again there's a sudden leap to the high E grades. This is achieved by working the route and trying really, really, really hard.

I think we've really hit upon something in this thread. Massive performance gains can now be achieved without all that boring strength and technique training. Just avoid all that repetitive repetition stuff and get straight on something really, really hard.
Simon Caldwell - on 18 Aug 2010
In reply to Lamb:
> I have however managed to top rope with no prior working of moves or abb inspection E3 5b.

but if you're top-roping the E3 bit is irrelevant - and 5b is only one above your lead grade.
Lamb - on 18 Aug 2010
In reply to Lamb: With regards to the OP. I don't know the route at all. However from what it seems the route doesnt get its lofty E8 6c number merely due to fall potentialy. I fail to see how after a handfull of E1s you could propose making the jump to E8? I dont understand why you would want to, surely you are going to let yourself in for a character shattering?
Lamb - on 18 Aug 2010
In reply to Toreador: True, however what I am trying to point out with that comment is that if the 'average E1' climber was to find an E5 with a tech of 5b - 5c meaning it gets its high E5 number with the fall potential a lot to do with the grading, if they were to work the route then strap on a pair and go for the lead, then I think it is do able?

As I have said, I am in no way qualified to make judgements on E numbers, just putting out a point for the interest of discussion.
jkarran - on 18 Aug 2010
Out of curiosity, why is there always so much rumbling about respect and damage, scrabbling, polish and ego when the word top-rope gets mentioned? And why is a subsequent lead needed to legitimise toproping?

Who'd bat an eyelid if the OP had asked for info on a popular V7* at ground level?

Both would take a similar amount of goes, one would be considered a legitimate even laudable achievement, the other attracts scorn and ridicule. The difference... a rope. Weird really!

*I'm guessing at the number but frankly it makes no difference, it illustrates my point.

If the OP wants to go get shut down then he should. Maybe he'll leave with his tail between his legs chastened. Maybe he'll leave psyched to train hard and achieve something. Either way, it's a day out doing nobody any harm.

jk
Mick Ward - on 18 Aug 2010
In reply to Lamb:

Hey, only teasing! None of us knows what we'll end up getting up (well, unless we give up.) Just got to be as safe as possible along the way.

Mick
Coel Hellier - on 18 Aug 2010
In reply to jkarran:

> Out of curiosity, why is there always so much rumbling about respect and damage, scrabbling, polish
> and ego when the word top-rope gets mentioned? And why is a subsequent lead needed to legitimise toproping?

The objection is not so much to clean, first-attempt top-toping, it is to siege top-roping of a climb well above someone's ability. Someone scrabbling around and falling off multiple times can easily cause 30 times the wear caused by the single-passage precise footwork of an on-sighter.

And it's not only about top-roping, sieging well-protected climbs such as Orpheus Wall, wearing the cam slots, is frowned on by the latest guide. And it is indeed also about boulder problems -- I've seen climbers criticised for trying boulder problems beyond them, not even cleaning their shoes properly, and so sandpapering the footholds every time they fall off.

The rock is finite and does wear. Anything that wears it significantly more than an on-sighter would is selfish and anti-social. If you want to practice something very hard to get good, there are load of opportunities these days on indoor walls. Go and siege a Moon board, not Gaia.
LakesWinter on 18 Aug 2010
In reply to Coel Hellier: I agree fully
jkarran - on 18 Aug 2010
In reply to Coel Hellier:

I really don't get it, there is no logical difference between working (sieging if you will) a naturally protected route and working a boulder problem or sport route if that's what you want to do, even one that's going to take a lot of work.

Ok, some routes (I presume this is the problem with Orpheus) have a particular reputation (good 'first' at whatever grade it is by any chance?) and problem (eroded gear/hold) but it's a small minority of routes that suffer this, most hold up just fine.

Just because you choose to work something doesn't mean you're a mucky-boot clad beginner peddling and scratching away at the same move on a bowstring tight rope. I don't see much peddling at Kilnsey, mostly I see accomplished climbers carefully working and refining complicated technical sequences. You don't see many people moaning ethics either. What makes a few 'hard grit' routes so different?

If you're so concerned about wear on routes you could equally argue that the most ethical thing to do would be to avoid the over-used easy climbs, change the game you play and focus on those that see little attention, the hard and the esoteric. Spread the load. Or you could just climb less or even stop... save the routes for the next generation to not-climb :)

jk
Daniel Heath - on 18 Aug 2010
In reply to jkarran:

Well I will be Devil's advocate for a second becuase gritstone is changed a lot by polish. And it is also true that a messy toproper causes much more harm than a single onsight attempt. I can see how this could affect gaia more than others.

Hence me last post; the potential for polish will be a big factor in how much I try particular moves, and will encourage me to avoid scrapes on the upper section of the route.
krank - on 18 Aug 2010
In reply to DHeath4:
> (In reply to DHeath4)
>
> I am very aware of polishing the route, especially the smear on the first move. When I am there I will get a better view of it. And if I can tell it's going to take countless failed attempts, I won't do it for that reason.

Well you wont get it in a couple of tries, so you might as well not bother.

Coel Hellier - on 18 Aug 2010
In reply to jkarran:

> Ok, some routes ... have a ... problem (eroded gear/hold) but it's a small minority of routes
> that suffer this, most hold up just fine.

That's just not true. The vast majority of non-obscure routes in the Peak are very far from their pristine state and show wear and polish.

> I don't see much peddling at Kilnsey ... What makes a few 'hard grit' routes so different?

Sport climbing does have a different ethic; but even there polish and over-use is a real problem on anything popular. E.g. Sardine: "A Peak landmark which sadly has become very polished ..." (Rockfax).

And I'm not talking about "a few 'hard grit' routes" I'm talking about all grit routes. Though, of course, the harder climbs have smaller holds and so are more easily worn/damaged. As said above, this affects things like Downhill Racer as well as super-elite things like Gaia. Would it be socially responsible for a VS climber to top-rope Downhill Racer 20 times to see if they could think about headpointing it? I don't think it would.
Coel Hellier - on 18 Aug 2010
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> E.g. Sardine: "A Peak landmark which sadly has become very polished ..." (Rockfax).

And note the comments on the Rockfax site:

"You can't give a route that polished three stars."

"Totally ruined by polish! Much of which is caused by people who have on intention of leading it working it to death on toprope!!!"
Lamb - on 18 Aug 2010
In reply to Coel Hellier: I would agree with your statements regarding a VS climber working something well above their grade, this is possibly true regarding the OP too, however I don't see a problem with some one who is climbing at a high grade already giving something say 2 grades above their best onsight an attempt on top rope and subsequently working it? Surely once you reach a high level of climbing, say on sighting E6s regularly the only way to progress further is to start working E6s & E7s?
jkarran - on 18 Aug 2010
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> That's just not true. The vast majority of non-obscure routes in the Peak are very far from their pristine state and show wear and polish.

But with very very few exceptions they are all still climbable at or very near their original difficulty, they're just different. A lot of those will have also seen 100k+ ascents, many of those in hobnails to get into their current state.

> Sport climbing does have a different ethic; but even there polish and over-use is a real problem on anything popular. E.g. Sardine: "A Peak landmark which sadly has become very polished ..." (Rockfax).

Again, routes change with use but they don't become unclimbable, sometimes they get harder, usually they just get less forgiving of sloppiness.

Sardine is the sacrificial warm-up route and still perfectly climbable in its shiny state, most crags have one or two.

And the Directissima: Same deal, well traveled warm-up route, shines like polished marble but still climbs brilliantly.

> And I'm not talking about "a few 'hard grit' routes" I'm talking about all grit routes. Though, of course, the harder climbs have smaller holds and so are more easily worn/damaged. As said above, this affects things like Downhill Racer as well as super-elite things like Gaia. Would it be socially responsible for a VS climber to top-rope Downhill Racer 20 times to see if they could think about headpointing it? I don't think it would.

I don't think it's any less responsible than going and doing 20 other routes on an already beat-up overcrowded crag, no.

jk
Andy Moles - on 18 Aug 2010
In reply to DHeath4:

Just in case anyone had somehow failed to notice, this thread is ridiculous.
krank - on 18 Aug 2010
In reply to andy moles:
you mean HVS punters cant climb E8? i dont think your giving him credit, if he works at it he will be able to do it, dont be so negative. Some people.
Coel Hellier - on 18 Aug 2010
In reply to jkarran:

> Again, routes change with use but they don't become unclimbable, sometimes they get harder,
> usually they just get less forgiving of sloppiness.

Exactly. Use/wear changes routes.
jkarran - on 18 Aug 2010
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> Exactly. Use/wear changes routes.

So what? Lack of use also changes routes... Nothing remains constant.
jk
Hugh Cottam - on 18 Aug 2010
In reply to jkarran:

I haven't been on it but I suspect Gaia is already quite "unforgiving of sloppiness".
Lamb - on 18 Aug 2010
In reply to andy moles: Sums it up quite well.
Dan J M on 18 Aug 2010
In reply to krank:
> (In reply to andy moles)
> you mean HVS punters cant climb E8? i dont think your giving him credit, if he works at it he will be able to do it, dont be so negative. Some people.

The thread IS ridiculous. If he'd just gone about it on the quiet he would come to the conclusion that route is either (a) do-able, or (b) totally unrealistic. Yes, he has every right to go and try, but generally speaking no, HVS punters can't climb E8, that's not being negative it's fact.

It's like all those 'punters' on X factor or whatever who think they have a God-given right to be international superstars regardless of their talent level.
Hugh Cottam - on 18 Aug 2010
In reply to Dan J M:

So negative Dan, so negative! Have you never been on a personal journey of discovery?
In reply to krank:
>
> you mean HVS punters cant climb E8? i dont think your giving him credit, if he works at it he will be able to do it, dont be so negative. Some people.

It is like a jogger wanting Olympic marathon gold or a weekend cyclist wanting the yellow jersey - admirable but totally unrealistic.


Chris
Johnny_Grunwald on 18 Aug 2010
In reply to Dan J M:
> (In reply to krank)
> [...]
generally speaking no, HVS punters can't climb E8, that's not being negative it's fact.
>

Are you aware what a non-sequitur or an oxymoron is? Something to go look up whilst you sit in your lofty tower.
Hugh Cottam - on 18 Aug 2010
In reply to Chris Craggs:

Yes Chris, but the jogger can attain Olympic marathon gold simply by moving their feet more quickly.
slacky on 18 Aug 2010
In reply to DHeath4:

Climbing Gaia should be a long term goal/inspiration.

Enjoy the journey that it takes to get there and use the desire to climb such a stunning feature as motiviation to train when your mates are out getting pissed, get out on routes when you'd rather stay at home and work your way through the grades gradually building up the experience you need to contemplate putting yourself in such a situation.

With regards to "If I can do the first move it looks like the rest is possible" just watch the various videos of where people tend to fall off!
krank - on 18 Aug 2010
In reply to Dan J M:
Its not ridiculous. He is gonna try really, really hard and we all know you can do anything if you try really hard.
Quiddity - on 18 Aug 2010
In reply to Chris Craggs:

Not really. Olympic marathon gold or the yellow jersey are by definition cutting edge sporting achievements which require you to be better than ALL of the competition and for everything to go right on the day. A headpoint of Gaia is hard but pretty far from cutting edge these days, it is a fixed difficulty which is demonstrably achievable by many with enough motivation and a bit of talent.

What is unrealistic is the time frame - five to ten years of hard work or even a lifetime achievement would be challenging enough without expecting it to happen in weeks or months. Yes the OP sounds naive but I don't see how he deserves the ridicule or sarcasm that this thread is turning into.
John Roberts (JR) - on 18 Aug 2010
In reply to andy moles:
> (In reply to DHeath4)
>
> Just in case anyone had somehow failed to notice, this thread is ridiculous.

Indeed, I'm sure it's going around in circles. And I said half of what's still being said about 2 days ago.

Dan J M on 18 Aug 2010
In reply to Rockmonkey680:

> Are you aware what a non-sequitur or an oxymoron is?

Yes thanks, do you know what a moron is.

> Something to go look up whilst you sit in your lofty tower.

What's lofty about a bit of hard-edged realism.

dirtbag1 - on 18 Aug 2010
In reply to DHeath4:
Sorry to be repeating myself, but Gaia isn't the equivalent of a 30m horizontal roof (physically hard) or The Very Big And The Very Small (boning on small edges).
It's primarily insecure climbing (hence my previous mention of safety margins, the more experience you've got, the larger the margin (theoretically)).
A few frigs on a rope will make it a lot easier, but the risk remains.
Robertostallioni - on 18 Aug 2010
In reply to dirtbag1: Yes but, as per the OP, is the fall worth taking?
Daniel Heath - on 18 Aug 2010
In reply to JR:

Yes

I wish I hadn't posted in the first place

really
irish paul - on 18 Aug 2010
In reply to DHeath4: I'm rather glad you did, been an interesting [if not somewhat ridiculous] thread! To be honest I'd say go and try it, you can usually tell if a move will be do-able fairly quickly so its not going to cause much harm.

Don't worry about not getting 'permission' to have a try. I have a few routes I'd like to have a go on but I looked at them from the point of view of "I shouldn't be getting on those, I'm not good enough". This does seem to be a British trad thing, it gets ingrained in your mentality. I reckon thats why its so refreshing to see foreign climbers come over, without that burden of a routes history, and actually try the climb.
Dr Avid - on 18 Aug 2010
In reply to DHeath4: Just go and do it.....If you really want to, and you're not wrecking the route for others, I say go for it!

Didnt Ben Heason make some quantum grade leap when he started getting on the bigger numbers?

Give it a go on top rope and you'll decide pretty quickly whether you want to lead it......If you were talking about Chalkstorm or Quietus I might say, hmm maybe get a bit better then lead it first time, but realisticly you're not ever going to onsight this so why not jump on it to see what its like?
John Roberts (JR) - on 18 Aug 2010
In reply to irish paul:
>
> thats why its so refreshing to see foreign climbers come over, without that burden of a routes history, and actually try the climb.


Usually having a pedigree >= F8a....
jkarran - on 18 Aug 2010
In reply to Chris Craggs:

> It is like a jogger wanting Olympic marathon gold or a weekend cyclist wanting the yellow jersey - admirable but totally unrealistic.

Not really, it's nothing like that, surely it's more like a jogger wanting to go <40min in their local 10k fun-run, it's not like it's 9b or V15!

So just trying hard first go almost certainly won't get you there but with some serious effort it's achievable. Just because it's hard is no reason not to find out how hard!

Ok, I confess, like everyone else I think he'll get shut down too but I hope when he is it leaves him inspired to train rather than dejected and chastised for dreaming. There's a huge amount of negativity in this thread and the route's being put up on a pedestal out of all proportion. Yeah... HVS to E8 is a frankly ridiculous leap but if it inspires him to start a journey, why not.

jk
irish paul - on 18 Aug 2010
In reply to JR: That would probably help and all! Mind you, how many Brits are climbing that level and getting on the classic testpieces?
ads.ukclimbing.com
Daniel Heath - on 18 Aug 2010
In reply to jkarran:
> (In reply to Chris Craggs)

> Not really, it's nothing like that, surely it's more like a jogger wanting to go <40min in their local 10k fun-run

I could do that!
haha joking aside.

Was going to try this Fri but poor weather ahead. Will try soon, probably fail, but at least it will be out the way and I'll be able to climb sensibly again (whether or not I make Gaia a long term goal). I will hopefully get a video and post stills of my attempt.
In reply to jkarran:
>
>
> So just trying hard first go almost certainly won't get you there but with some serious effort it's achievable. Just because it's hard is no reason not to find out how hard!
>

This is the bit I don't get, plenty of folks on the thread saying that with a suitable amount of effort anyone can do Gaia. I think that is just pie in the sky. These routes surely need more than hard work - or is real climbing talent redudant?

Chris


Chris
mkean - on 18 Aug 2010
In reply to Chris Craggs:
These routes surely need more than hard work - or is real climbing talent redudant?

I hope so or I'm stuffed, any idea where you can get this talent stuff from?
jamesp78 - on 18 Aug 2010
In reply to Chris Craggs: I think coming into trad climbing from different aspects of climbing i.e sport or bouldering, can make a big difference as to climbing hard grades. I did an e6 last w/e after top roping and pissed it and before that i'd only done a few vs's or something. i think onsighting trad is clearly where the true talent lies.
Coel Hellier - on 18 Aug 2010
In reply to jamesp78:

> I think coming into trad climbing from different aspects of climbing i.e sport or bouldering,
> can make a big difference as to climbing hard grades.

That's true. Wasn't there a case of a young lad, doing a lot of high-level bouldering, and then headpointing Kaluza Klein as his first ever lead?
petestack - on 18 Aug 2010
In reply to Chris Craggs:
> This is the bit I don't get, plenty of folks on the thread saying that with a suitable amount of effort anyone can do Gaia.

And plenty of folks reading it who know damn well that it's way more demanding than that!
JimR - on 18 Aug 2010
In reply to DHeath4:

What I'm wondering is, if this geyser does manage it.. will he give up climbing or... what will be his next ambition ;-)
Daniel Heath - on 18 Aug 2010
In reply to JimR:

Wether or not I manage it I'll be going back to E1 - E3 goals. And still leading VS-HVS as a matter of routine. This isn't going to change
Quiddity - on 18 Aug 2010
In reply to Chris Craggs:

> This is the bit I don't get, plenty of folks on the thread saying that with a suitable amount of effort anyone can do Gaia. I think that is just pie in the sky. These routes surely need more than hard work - or is real climbing talent redudant?

what I said was 'achievable by many with enough motivation and a bit of talent.' (emphasis added)

what I suspect many people mean by enough motivation, is spending years bouldering on grit and probably sport climbing to get to the required level of technique, strength and fitness, as well as lots of intermediate bold trad extremes, by which point the climber in question will probably have an extensive ticklist E1 - E7. I don't think many are suggesting the OP goes out to work it every weekend from now until he ticks it.

Out of interest (perhaps this needs its own thread) what do you think 'real climbing talent' is, and what proportion do you think is innate and what is acquired through hours of practice and training? And do you think the thing separating, say, E5 headpointers from E8 headpointers is really untrainable or do you think it's largely a result of spending lots and lots of time on rock?
Michael Gordon - on 18 Aug 2010
In reply to thread:

Utterly ridiculous.
bomb on 18 Aug 2010 - host86-175-116-21.wlms-broadband.com
In reply to DHeath4:

I don't care how positive your outlook is, you WILL NOT do this route, and you won't do it until you can much much harder than you do now. If I sound like a dick then I apologise but it is fact. For crying out loud, if you're even thinking about trying Gaia, whether headpoint of onsight, you should be able to go and utterly thrash most of the classic mid grade grit extremes. Please do us all a favour and go and try some safe and relatively hard stuff first, if you go and walk up usurper, rasp, calvary, goosey, etc etc but for god's sake accept that you cannot do this route. Yet. You can't. Really. At least go and do some hard bouldering. I don't know really what more I can say without being offensive, but honestly, if you try this route now you must be an absolute clown.
bomb on 18 Aug 2010 - host86-175-116-21.wlms-broadband.com
In reply to Lamb:
> (In reply to Jamie Bankhead) The best I have lead at present is HVS 5a. I have however managed to top rope with no prior working of moves or abb inspection E3 5b.

Oh dear god. You mean great slab? Archangel? Whichever one it was, if you think you can climb 5b why the hell didn't you just pad out the cruxes and grow a pair? What the hell is wrong with people?
I despair.
LakesWinter on 18 Aug 2010
In reply to bomb: YEaH!!!
Chris Shorter - on 18 Aug 2010
In reply to Chris Craggs:
> (In reply to jkarran)
> [...]
>
> This is the bit I don't get, plenty of folks on the thread saying that with a suitable amount of effort anyone can do Gaia. I think that is just pie in the sky. These routes surely need more than hard work - or is real climbing talent redudant?
>
> Chris
>
>
> Chris

Completely agree Chris.

If some really believe a HVS/E1 leader can do E8 "if they try hard", a v.diff man could climb E5 under the same circumstances or a scrambler lead E3. Complete and utter rubbish.
Chris Shorter - on 18 Aug 2010
In reply to bomb:
> (In reply to DHeath4)
>
> I don't care how positive your outlook is, you WILL NOT do this route, and you won't do it until you can much much harder than you do now. If I sound like a dick then I apologise but it is fact. For crying out loud, if you're even thinking about trying Gaia, whether headpoint of onsight, you should be able to go and utterly thrash most of the classic mid grade grit extremes. Please do us all a favour and go and try some safe and relatively hard stuff first, if you go and walk up usurper, rasp, calvary, goosey, etc etc but for god's sake accept that you cannot do this route. Yet. You can't. Really. At least go and do some hard bouldering. I don't know really what more I can say without being offensive, but honestly, if you try this route now you must be an absolute clown.

I see from his log that our OP has already DNF'd on a "dogged" ascent of L'Horla, and the climbs you list are way harder!
AJM - on 18 Aug 2010
In reply to plexiglass_nick:

> Out of interest (perhaps this needs its own thread) what do you think 'real climbing talent' is, and what proportion do you think is innate and what is acquired through hours of practice and training? And do you think the thing separating, say, E5 headpointers from E8 headpointers is really untrainable or do you think it's largely a result of spending lots and lots of time on rock?

I've talked to at least one well-known climbing coach who doesn't believe it exists. His view was that motivation was key in that it drives how hard you try and how hard you train. The old 10,000 hours of practice seperating beginners from world class performers - some scientific study or another.

AJM
Gordon Stainforth - on 18 Aug 2010
In reply to Chris Shorter:

Agreed also. Utter nonsense. As someone who most of my climbing career was an HVS/E1 leader I know I wouldn't have a hope in hell of doing it even on a very tight rope. Apart from needing to be a brilliant technician you have got to have phenomenal finger strength and extraordinary agility (just to get round the first overhang) etc etc etc etc. Most climbers have an absolute ceiling about two adjectival grades above their comfortable leading limit. I couldn't do Downhill Racer on a toprope, for example. Not far off it, I reckon, but I just hadn't got sufficient finger strength. If I had, then I would probably have been an E3 leader.
Gordon Stainforth - on 18 Aug 2010
In reply to AJM:

There are a lot of very good climbers whom I believe have got there by sheer hard work and dedication (and of course some natural athletic abilities), but there are others like Johnny Dawes and Leo Houlding who most certainly have a natural gift that goes far beyond that.
AJM - on 18 Aug 2010
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

I have to say I have sympathy for that view - I'm still not unconvinced that somewhere talent/genetics/whatever will be the difference between two people who are otherwise equal, I just believe its a massive amount higher up than most people think it is. I was just relaying the views of another....

Whilst the OP might have been talking about being able to walk straight up and do this route "now", I think that most other people who have said "its probably possible" are thinking over a longer timeframe. Certainly there was the article on UKC a while back about Alun who went from HVS to E4 in a year (inspiring and well-worth reading), and headpointing usually gives you somehting of a grade boost above your onsight grade, so maybe HVS onsight to an (not steady, one) E5/6 or maybe more headpoint in a year would have been achieveable for Alun, who knows? And then you work from that I guess.....

AJM
Justin T - on 18 Aug 2010
In reply to Chris Shorter:

> If some really believe a HVS/E1 leader can do E8 "if they try hard", a v.diff man could climb E5 under the same circumstances or a scrambler lead E3. Complete and utter rubbish.

"Utter rubbish" is taking it too far. And the "try really hard" bit is not about a magical one-time performance, it's about putting in enough work concentrating on an exact route. It depends very much on the route and the style in which you're trying to do it. There's a huge difference between what it takes to get good enough to onsight consistently at a given grade and working and leading a specific route at that grade. In sport terms it's normally about 3 french grades difference, for some people more.

From your examples:

A good many scramblers if they were to carefully choose a bold slabby E3 suiting their existing strengths could headpoint it very quickly given the correct approach.

I'm not sure I believe in your concept of a "v.diff man" - generally in my experience that means someone who has some mental block holding them back as most people can physically climb much harder than that with little or no training. Given that the guy we're talking about is motivated enough to try something he knows is going to be way hard I think we can rule that out.

HVS/E1 to E8 ... well it's a bit of a stretch but if the guy can get strong enough to do the first move up into the groove, am I not right in thinking the rest of the route is mainly about balance and footwork? Which are trainable, and trainable relatively fast in terms of a specific route. How much sloper strength is needed above and how much is about balance? I don't know. And obviously huge cajones, but this bit is tempered by the headpoint approach and the modern ropework approach (second side-rope to stop the swing).

Does anyone care to suggest a V grade for the initial move and an F grade for the rest of the route?
@ndyM@rsh@ll - on 18 Aug 2010
In reply to quadmyre: The problem is that what the OP has suggested, rather than training with gaia in mind, is just throwing a rope down it and going at it like knives when at this stage in his climbing career it will just be banging his head against a wall.
Gordon Stainforth - on 18 Aug 2010
In reply to AJM:
> (In reply to Gordon Stainforth)
>
> I have to say I have sympathy for that view - I'm still not unconvinced that somewhere talent/genetics/whatever will be the difference between two people who are otherwise equal, I just believe its a massive amount higher up than most people think it is. I was just relaying the views of another....
>
> Whilst the OP might have been talking about being able to walk straight up and do this route "now", I think that most other people who have said "its probably possible" are thinking over a longer timeframe. Certainly there was the article on UKC a while back about Alun who went from HVS to E4 in a year (inspiring and well-worth reading), and headpointing usually gives you somehting of a grade boost above your onsight grade, so maybe HVS onsight to an (not steady, one) E5/6 or maybe more headpoint in a year would have been achieveable for Alun, who knows? And then you work from that I guess.....

Sure, but then you are talking about someone getting much, much better very rapidly. Some do, some don't. I climbed in the early 80s for a short while with a guy who'd climbed for a year on climbing walls and SE Sandstone and had never been on a real crag. His very first route was South Ridge Direct on Arran, where we alternated leads. By the end of the summer he'd left me miles behind and had lead Cream (E4) at Tremadoc. The next spring he did Right Wall.

Gordon Stainforth - on 18 Aug 2010
In reply to @ndyM@rsh@ll:
> (In reply to quadmyre) The problem is that what the OP has suggested, rather than training with gaia in mind, is just throwing a rope down it and going at it like knives when at this stage in his climbing career it will just be banging his head against a wall.

And surely rather embarrassing. Even Joe Public walking past, who does not really understand any of the finer points of climbing, is likely to be rather baffled by the spectacle.

Michael Gordon - on 18 Aug 2010
In reply to AJM:
> (In reply to plexiglass_nick)
>
> [...]
>
> I've talked to at least one well-known climbing coach who doesn't believe it exists. His view was that motivation was key in that it drives how hard you try and how hard you train. The old 10,000 hours of practice seperating beginners from world class performers - some scientific study or another.
>
> AJM

Someone that good would say that though, wouldn't they? I don't doubt that top climbers have put in a lot of work, but having talent is a good encouragement to the application of effort.
@ndyM@rsh@ll - on 18 Aug 2010
In reply to Gordon Stainforth: Indeed that too, there's already an activity for failing repeatedly and getting baffled looks from passers by at the apparent pointlesness of what you're doing, and it involves pads.
JimR - on 18 Aug 2010
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:
> (In reply to Chris Shorter)
>
I couldn't do Downhill Racer on a toprope, for example. Not far off it, I reckon, but I just hadn't got sufficient finger strength. If I had, then I would probably have been an E3 leader.


Suspect you're wrong on that one ;-) I rather think you'd have strolled it on TR!
Michael Gordon - on 18 Aug 2010
In reply to quadmyre:

There's no way in hell an E1 climber (this being someone whose current limit is E1, not someone new to the game who has so far only got around to doing an E1 but is capable of a lot more) would get anywhere on a route like this. I'd be AMAZED if they could headpoint an E5.
AJM - on 18 Aug 2010
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

Of course some people improve faster than others. But neither of us can say with certainty whether he did right wall and you didn't because his training was more effective or because he had more natural talent. I've been told by people before that right wall is something anyone who puts the work in can do (certainly it's French grade apparently isn't excessive, and I know of people who have made big gains training for specific routes, although in this case fay rather than right wall), and whether it's proveably true or not I would certainly prefer to believe that than to believe it requires natural talent, since I certainly don't have that... My personal belief (and hope) is that talent isn't a factor in ultimate ability until a lot higher, although I can well believe that it may impact how fast you get there...
Gordon Stainforth - on 18 Aug 2010
In reply to JimR:
> (In reply to Gordon Stainforth)
> [...]
> I couldn't do Downhill Racer on a toprope, for example. Not far off it, I reckon, but I just hadn't got sufficient finger strength. If I had, then I would probably have been an E3 leader.
>
>
> Suspect you're wrong on that one ;-) I rather think you'd have strolled it on TR!

I'm talking about a toprope, Jim. I'm telling you, I couldn't do it! I suspect I could have done it about 1977-8, i.e in my late 20s, when I was going at about my strongest, but I had very little opportunity/time to go north at weekends then.

AJM - on 18 Aug 2010
In reply to Michael Gordon:

That runs both ways though - good climbers like to ascribe everything to hard work since that's virtuous whereas claiming you have talent is immodest, and less good climbers look at those climbing harder and put it down to talent since it gives them a justification for their poorer performance. Who knows who is right... As I said though, the 10000 hours thing was a scientific study, so should hopefully have some robust methodology behind it. And saying talent encourages hard work is true, but getting better by whatever means encourages further effort too, so again, which one has the talent and what is it? You read bookslike 9out of 10 and you realise training has a lot to do with what you're thinking whilst training as well as what you pull on whilst thinking, and that's completely unquantifiable...

Gordon Stainforth - on 18 Aug 2010
In reply to AJM:
> (In reply to Gordon Stainforth)
>
> Of course some people improve faster than others. But neither of us can say with certainty whether he did right wall and you didn't because his training was more effective or because he had more natural talent.

I can say categorically that he had more natural talent. A huge part of that talent, irrespective of one's physical ability and training, is how your mind works. My biggest handicap in climbing was always my head. Far too imaginative, far too easily scared.

>I've been told by people before that right wall is something anyone who puts the work in can do (certainly it's French grade apparently isn't excessive, and I know of people who have made big gains training for specific routes, although in this case fay rather than right wall), and whether it's proveably true or not I would certainly prefer to believe that than to believe it requires natural talent, since I certainly don't have that... My personal belief (and hope) is that talent isn't a factor in ultimate ability until a lot higher, although I can well believe that it may impact how fast you get there...

No, you can have genuine talent at a much lower level, which means you can go out and climb well without having to have some semi-demented training regime. I know loads of people in that category, who are naturally gifted at climbing, have gone out and one it well, but have never taken it very seriously, typically because other things like career and family are far more important.

tallsop on 18 Aug 2010
In reply to quadmyre:
> (In reply to Chris Shorter)
>
> [...]
>
> > Does anyone care to suggest a V grade for the initial move and an F grade for the rest of the route?


- no, because none of these nobbers have actually been on it, - which is one of the many reasons that this thread is f*cking shit :)
AJM - on 18 Aug 2010
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

Lead heads are more variable, I'll grant you, but they can be trained just as anything else...

Your uncommitted but good climbers - what level are we talking about here? I know people who do that in the low-mid e grades, but that's old-school knarl
In reply to tallsop:
>
>
> - no, because none of these nobbers have actually been on it, - which is one of the many reasons that this thread is f*cking shit :)

Nail>head>whacked - love it!


Chris
AJM - on 18 Aug 2010
In reply to AJM:

... knarl for you - hit the button by mistake :)
In reply to quadmyre:
>
>
>
> A good many scramblers if they were to carefully choose a bold slabby E3 suiting their existing strengths could headpoint it very quickly given the correct approach.
>

So a non climbing scrambler could headpoint (eg) Long John's Slab in double quick time?

I get more amazed by this thread as it progresses!


Chris

Coel Hellier - on 18 Aug 2010
In reply to Chris Shorter:

> I see from his log that our OP has already DNF'd on a "dogged" ascent of L'Horla,

Not to mention "dnf" leads of four VSs earlier this year, such as The File and Embankment 2.
Gordon Stainforth - on 18 Aug 2010
In reply to tallsop:
> (In reply to quadmyre)
> [...]
>
>
> - no, because none of these nobbers have actually been on it, - which is one of the many reasons that this thread is f*cking shit :)

It is virtual nonsense, isn't it?

Gordon Stainforth - on 18 Aug 2010
In reply to Coel Hellier:
> (In reply to Chris Shorter)
>
> [...]
>
> Not to mention "dnf" leads of four VSs earlier this year, such as The File and Embankment 2.

Bl**dy hell, I hadn't seen that! What a total farce.

Gordon Stainforth - on 18 Aug 2010
In reply to AJM:
> (In reply to Gordon Stainforth)
>
> Lead heads are more variable, I'll grant you, but they can be trained just as anything else...
>
> Your uncommitted but good climbers - what level are we talking about here? I know people who do that in the low-mid e grades, but that's old-school knarl

Lower E grades are so old-school 'knarl' that that's what the vast majority now seem to be doing! Pathetic, isn't it? Just why aren't they climbing any harder (if your theory is correct)?


scooott - on 18 Aug 2010
Why is it now that people can magically climb 15 grades higher if all it takes is a bit of effort and picking the right route?

Why can't we all go onsite our own E10s?

We can't. Gaia is hard. E grades like that are hard. You gotta be really good at climbing, and really bold to get up them.

Hence why most people can't piece together the moves at all let alone lead them cleanly :).
AJM - on 18 Aug 2010
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

We seem to be going round in circles - you were the one who said to me that it was because they have other priorities in life, surely? If climbing is an occasional sideline then that would seem like they've made a decision not to prioritise it in life, with a subsequent impact on the amount of time you spend doing it.

The people I'm thinking of do some climbing but tend to do it occasionally, or in phases as other hobbies swing in and out of the spotlight. Most seem to have been doing it for a fair while at different levels of keen-ness. Some of them aren't really old enough for it to really qualify as "old-school knarl", I'll grant you, but in general my experience of watching these people shows that you don't really forget the skills so once you've learnt them once you can maintain them on very little. On the physical side the principle in sport science is that its easier to maintain something than to gain it, so again I suppose if you get to a particular point you need do far less to maintain that level.

I guess its never even occurred to me that, having reached the low E-grades, it requires some mysterious and ill-defined natural talent to maintain it whilst only climbing every now and again. I've not yet had that dip in climbing frequency myself at those grades, but I have seen enough people in that sort of phase to assume that its just a fairly normal consequence of having a lot of experience of climbing and therefore having the engrained skills. I guess there's a few different drivers to the level you can maintain on very little climbing - the competing pulls of physical fitness (which becomes more of an issue the harder you climb, so therefore make a larger difference between max grade and ticking-over-grade) and experience (which would tend to allow your ticking-over-grade to be closer to your max grade since you've got the knack more deeply engrained).

AJM
Gordon Stainforth - on 18 Aug 2010
In reply to AJM:
> (In reply to Gordon Stainforth)
>
> We seem to be going round in circles - you were the one who said to me that it was because they have other priorities in life, surely? If climbing is an occasional sideline then that would seem like they've made a decision not to prioritise it in life, with a subsequent impact on the amount of time you spend doing it.

Yes. I am talking about people who are naturally good who could have done much better at climbing if career and other pressures hadn't come first. Typically, they have no hang up about it whatever, I suspect, and have none of the hang-ups that spawned this thread, for example.

I thought the subject was, roughly, genuine talent versus training.

>
> The people I'm thinking of do some climbing but tend to do it occasionally, or in phases as other hobbies swing in and out of the spotlight. Most seem to have been doing it for a fair while at different levels of keen-ness. Some of them aren't really old enough for it to really qualify as "old-school knarl", I'll grant you, but in general my experience of watching these people shows that you don't really forget the skills so once you've learnt them once you can maintain them on very little. On the physical side the principle in sport science is that its easier to maintain something than to gain it, so again I suppose if you get to a particular point you need do far less to maintain that level.

Agreed with all that.

>
> I guess its never even occurred to me that, having reached the low E-grades, it requires some mysterious and ill-defined natural talent to maintain it whilst only climbing every now and again.

I certainly never said that, and indeed used my own case as someone who lacks natural talent.

I couldn't follow your last para. Seemed like a bunch of truisms. I hope you climb more precisely and cleanly than you write.
Mick Ward - on 18 Aug 2010
In reply to Chris Craggs:
> (In reply to quadmyre)
> [...]
>
> So a non climbing scrambler could headpoint (eg) Long John's Slab in double quick time?
>
> I get more amazed by this thread as it progresses!


Yeah, well, it's all virtual, innit Chris? There's an old memory rollocking around in the dim recesses of my brain cells of realising I was too short for the crucial reach on Long John's and an impish voice in my head whispering, "Just do it anyway..." and my mate Dave muttering, "Don't end up on that boulder Mick, cos it f*cking hurts - and I should know!"

And although it's an old sepia memory, it relates to something which once wasn't in the least virtual and where an abyss of pain waited just around the corner.

Phew! Things are all so much safer now.

Mick
AJM - on 18 Aug 2010
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

Gordon - a few posts back, you said "No, you can have genuine talent at a much lower level, which means you can go out and climb well without having to have some semi-demented training regime". That seems to me to be an argument for talent playing some role substituting training. The next sentence was "I know loads of people in that category, who are naturally gifted at climbing, have gone out and one it well, but have never taken it very seriously, typically because other things like career and family are far more important." Not taking it seriously implies to me at least they do it occasionally, and have performed relatively well at it.

So in answer to my question you said that having "done it well" implies being able to climb low E grades, presumably without having to really train or climb regularly. I've explained in my reply a belief that a lot of that is down to having the engrained skills built up over time which you don't lose.

So essentially, unless your replies were meant to read as something different from how they do, you're arguing that talent allows you to maintain low E grade climbing on a base of very little regular training or climbing. But apparently you've never said that, you claim, and are in fact a counter-example to your own argument? I hate to be rude, but I don't think its just my drafting that needs clarity Gordon. You're hardly a beacon of clarity here....

So, I've got little else to say really - my point was essenially:
- no-one seems to really know what talent is? What is it? Or are we defining it as "anything which makes you good at climbing"? In which case talent probably does have something to do with climbing performance ;)
- no-one has yet managed to explain how to distinguish it from many of the other things that make up climbing skill. Amount of training, type of training, mental approach whilst doing physical training, attitude on climbing days - has anyone seriously tried seperating these? The only study I've seen is this 10,000 hours, which covered other things, but did basically seem to conclude that practice makes perfect...
- I personally believe that genuine talent, however you choose to define it, is not likely to be a limiting factor for those of us climbing at grades below elite levels. A part of this comes from reading training books, a part from talking to good climbers and knowing how hard they work to get there, and I'm happy to admit that a part of it comes from the fact that if I don't use lack of talent as an excuse I at least am in charge of what happens to my climbing. I don't like the idea of using lack of talent as an excuse for failing to achieve.

AJM
Gordon Stainforth - on 18 Aug 2010
In reply to AJM:
> (In reply to Gordon Stainforth)
>
> Gordon - a few posts back, you said "No, you can have genuine talent at a much lower level, which means you can go out and climb well without having to have some semi-demented training regime". That seems to me to be an argument for talent playing some role substituting training. The next sentence was "I know loads of people in that category, who are naturally gifted at climbing, have gone out and one it well, but have never taken it very seriously, typically because other things like career and family are far more important." Not taking it seriously implies to me at least they do it occasionally, and have performed relatively well at it.

Yes.

Re. last sentence: well, did do, and as I said, yes, did very well at it.

> So in answer to my question you said that having "done it well" implies being able to climb low E grades, presumably without having to really train or climb regularly. I've explained in my reply a belief that a lot of that is down to having the engrained skills built up over time which you don't lose.

That doesn't follow. I gave you a clear example of someone whose ability was virtually immediate, and not built up over time.

>
> So essentially, unless your replies were meant to read as something different from how they do, you're arguing that talent allows you to maintain low E grade climbing on a base of very little regular training or climbing.

Yes, obviously, as with any talent in life.

>But apparently you've never said that, you claim, and are in fact a counter-example to your own argument? I hate to be rude, but I don't think its just my drafting that needs clarity Gordon. You're hardly a beacon of clarity here....

You really have lost me here. My theme throughout has been the truth: that I myself do not have much natural climbing ability.
>
> So, I've got little else to say really - my point was essenially:
> - no-one seems to really know what talent is? What is it? Or are we defining it as "anything which makes you good at climbing"? In which case talent probably does have something to do with climbing performance ;)

Of course.

> - no-one has yet managed to explain how to distinguish it from many of the other things that make up climbing skill. Amount of training, type of training, mental approach whilst doing physical training, attitude on climbing days - has anyone seriously tried seperating these? The only study I've seen is this 10,000 hours, which covered other things, but did basically seem to conclude that practice makes perfect...

You can spot it when you see it. Just as you can appreciate a world class classical pianist when you see them perform. I hope.

> - I personally believe that genuine talent, however you choose to define it, is not likely to be a limiting factor for those of us climbing at grades below elite levels. A part of this comes from reading training books, a part from talking to good climbers and knowing how hard they work to get there, and I'm happy to admit that a part of it comes from the fact that if I don't use lack of talent as an excuse I at least am in charge of what happens to my climbing. I don't like the idea of using lack of talent as an excuse for failing to achieve.

No disagreement on that either.

>
> AJM

sutty on 18 Aug 2010
In reply to AJM:

Talent is indefinable though you can often see the results of it by watching people like Dawes or Houlding, who the first time I saw him on film could tell he had it..

People like Boysen or Brown or Phil Gordon had it. It is the difference between a good craftsman and an artist watching them work. They may appear to produce the same thing but the best have that extra something that makes it look easy.

Look at the links to the Gaia fall and ascents and you will see one person almost cruise it, I was amazed.
Lamb - on 18 Aug 2010
In reply to bomb: A swim in the North Sea was not a proposition I fancied thinking about in March.
Jamie B - on 18 Aug 2010
In reply to Lamb:

> (In reply to Jamie Bankhead) The best I have lead at present is HVS 5a. I have however managed to top rope with no prior working of moves or abb inspection E3 5b.

So you've top-roped one technical grade harder than your lead grade.
billydekid1974 on 19 Aug 2010 - cpc2-aztw13-0-0-cust29.aztw.cable.virginmedia.com
In reply to DHeath4:
The fall is not worth taking.
AJM - on 19 Aug 2010
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

I'm in a bit of a rush for work now, but given your point about music, I was intrigued to see that music is one of the things mentioned by 9 out of 10 climbers as being impacted by this 10,000 hours thing. I think suttys differentiating between craftsmen and artists (I forget the exact names) is quite good - the end result is basically the same, one person just makes it look easier. My problem is that I've seen so many end performances, particularly on sport but also on trad, that look flowing and polished, but without seeing the whole preparation leading up to it you never know what's actually driving it. Those where I've seen the buildup it usually requires sweat, swearing and good old fashioned graft :)
JimR - on 19 Aug 2010
In reply to AJM:

Hmmm .. even given 1,000,000,000 hours at music I'd still be rubbish as I'm musically dyslexic and tonedeaf.

Maybe some sort of basic aptitude is required?
Lamb - on 19 Aug 2010
In reply to Jamie Bankhead: Yes, well observed, what I am saying is it would be possible for someone who is only an HVS leader to push themself, if they strapped on a pair, and climb a bold E4.
Derek O - on 19 Aug 2010
In reply to Lamb:
> (In reply to Jamie Bankhead) Yes, well observed, what I am saying is it would be possible for someone who is only an HVS leader to push themself, if they strapped on a pair, and climb a bold E4.

Big if! Like saying if they got much stronger, they could climb a hard E4.

jkarran - on 19 Aug 2010
In reply to Michael Gordon:

> There's no way in hell an E1 climber (this being someone whose current limit is E1, not someone new to the game who has so far only got around to doing an E1 but is capable of a lot more) would get anywhere on a route like this. I'd be AMAZED if they could headpoint an E5.

You've no profile so I could be setting myself up for a fall but of curiosity, have you tried any redpointing?

I'd be AMAZED if a suitably psyched E1 leader *couldn't* headpoint something like Life Assurance (E6, F6b+ according to http://gritlist.wetpaint.com/ and reputedly at the easier end of that). How many folk get to E1 without being able to onsight 6b+... not many. Add in the redpoint aspect which makes a HUGE difference and the survivable fall should it all go wrong. What's stopping people... lack of belief, lack of knowledge, scornful comments from peers as demonstrated above... who knows? Actually, thinking about it, there's not much stopping people, routes like that see plenty of redpoint attention from folk without much 'pedigree'.

Interestingly http://gritlist.wetpaint.com/ putting Gaia at 7b+ suggests it should be technically well within reach of a *lot* of climbers to redpoint should they really want to put in the work.

And no... before anyone asks again, by 'putting in the work' I don't mean simply pawing at the route for hours until it magically becomes possible and by 'trying hard' I don't mean simply gurning a bit and pulling harder.

jk
Pagan - on 19 Aug 2010
In reply to jkarran:

> I'd be AMAZED if a suitably psyched E1 leader *couldn't* headpoint something like Life Assurance (E6, F6b+ according to http://gritlist.wetpaint.com/ and reputedly at the easier end of that).

Again, you're talking about something which you haven't done, but because you're so self-deprecating and rubbish (tongue in cheek there btw) it must be possible for others when that simply isn't the case.

I think you're overestimating the difference top rope practise can make on smeary, tenuous routes. It's amazing how different a 6b smear move 10' above some pointy rocks will feel when the rope's been taken away. It takes a lot of mental strength to persuade yourself that your foot will stick. That's what makes these routes hard - it's not the physical difficulty, it's the head game.

> routes like that see plenty of redpoint attention from folk without much 'pedigree'.

Yes - they see plenty of 'attention'. Attention which is somewhat out of proportion to the number of successful leads.

> How many folk get to E1 without being able to onsight 6b+... not many

Me, for a start. And I suspect a few others with good leading heads and weak arms.
Quiddity - on 19 Aug 2010
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

Despite the general nonsense nature of the thread I do think this is a nuggest of interest.

talent - what is it?

At the moment I think it's an ephemeral umbrella term that we use to describe anything that can't simply be explained by lots of practice and training.

If I had to speculate I would have thought it includes genetics (what proportion of fast/slow twitch muscle you have, the length of your levers, how hard you can train before injury, etc.) neuropsychological factors (how receptive you are to propriaceptive feedback, balance) psychological factors (determination, attention span, how you respond to stressful situations) and loads more.

I think the interesting questions, are how many of those factors are really limiting factors (ie. if you don't have them you'll never be any good), which respond to training and practice, and which ones can't be trained but can be compensated for by strategic choices (ie. if you're genetically predisposed to slow twitch muscle fibres you compensate for your lack of power by specialising in endurance routes).

For sure, I think there is a 'natural aptitude' or how hard you can climb on your first day, which is probably not actually natural at all but based on your general level of fitness, co-ordination, balance and fine motor control and your ability at other related physical disciplines - eg. the anecdotal gymnast who topropes E whatever on their first day. But if you were to follow, say, 50 beginner climbers around for five or ten years after they started, would what they managed on their first day would be a good predictor of which ones end up getting really good? I suspect it wouldn't. Purely anecdotally, lots of the people I started with who were much better than me have since given up because they lost interest, or had other interests, or just started out good and didn't get that much better because 'natural ability' meant they didn't bother learning any more technique.

Similarly, if you were to take 50 climbers of different 'natural ability' and made them all boulder on grit for 5 days a week for 5 years, at the end of it, what would be the factors that separate the really good ones from the mediocre ones? Personally I suspect factors that affect how quickly you learn - like determination, focus, ability to learn new movements - are more relevant than the phsycial stuff which largely can be trained.

The point of this long winded ramble, is that although everyone will mumble about 'natural talent' no one really cares to put their finger on what it is and what it isn't, and I don't really think it's one simple thing that you either have or don't have. Steve McClure (I think) says of Rich Simpson that his main natural talent is his ability to train really, really hard. Dave Macleod speculates that Chris Sharma's main natural talent is his body's ability to absorb a high volume of training without injury.

Ultimately the difference between an outstanding climber and one who is merely very, very good might come down to talent or it might come down to years and years of hard work. But to come back round to the point of the thread, Gaia is a trade route from 20 years ago. It is only E8 6c, what, insecure/dangerous F7b+ - it is not 9b or V15. You don't have to be an outstanding climber to get up it, you 'merely' have to be very, very good.

If you take 50 climbers of varying ability, move them to Spain and make them sport climb 8 hours a day for 5 years, I will be amazed if the vast majority haven't made it to 8a in that time. Are male headpoints of E8 even newsworthy these days? The number of people crying 'this is not news!' suggests that it is not unusual. Not wanting to detract at all from the achievement which is clearly outstanding but I doubt in the general scheme of things it's hard enough that genetics or 'natural factors' are really what is making the difference, and I suspect that it is experience that counts. Plenty of people set themselves and achieve the goal of getting to F8a without raising any eyebrows, and if you can redpoint F8a then Gaia is probably a realistic proposition given enough experience on bold and insecure grit.

Is the OP going to go out and do it tomorrow? Realistically, no, but maybe he'll get on it and come away inspired to get a bit better. Yes, be realistic about how much work it's likely to take but what is wrong with a bit of inspiration? Mostly on this thread I see mid E grade leaders stridently shouting their opposition to the idea that someone who currently climbs HVS could have ideas above their station.
Coel Hellier - on 19 Aug 2010
In reply to plexiglass_nick:

> Plenty of people set themselves and achieve the goal of getting to F8a without raising any eyebrows,
> and if you can redpoint F8a then Gaia is probably a realistic proposition given enough
> experience on bold and insecure grit.

> Is the OP going to go out and do it tomorrow? ... Yes, be realistic about how much work it's
> likely to take but what is wrong with a bit of inspiration? Mostly on this thread I see mid E grade
> leaders stridently shouting their opposition to the idea that someone who currently climbs HVS
> could have ideas above their station.

Sheesh, of course there is nothing wrong with inspiration, or with being inspired to set out on a campaign to get good that might in several years result in a headpoint of Gaia.

But that is not what the thread is about or what the OP was suggesting. He was indeed intending to try it now -- he mentioned Friday. His idea is that he top-ropes it a few times, next week, and then goes for the headpoint (having earlier this year failed to lead several VSs). It is *that* concept that is attracting the "comment" on this thread.

No-one is objecting to a HVS leader having "ideas above their station" and dreaming of one-day being a good climber.
jkarran - on 19 Aug 2010
In reply to Pagan:

> Again, you're talking about something which you haven't done, but because you're so self-deprecating and rubbish (tongue in cheek there btw) it must be possible for others when that simply isn't the case.

No, it's not something I've done. I don't fall into the suitably psyched category, it's something I have next to no interest in. Maybe I'm totally wrong, I guess the only way to find out is go waste a day trying.

> I think you're overestimating the difference top rope practise can make on smeary, tenuous routes. It's amazing how different a 6b smear move 10' above some pointy rocks will feel when the rope's been taken away. It takes a lot of mental strength to persuade yourself that your foot will stick. That's what makes these routes hard - it's not the physical difficulty, it's the head game.

For starters, the routes I've mentioned don't have pointy rock landings, they either have gear that catches or survivable flat-ish landings. Obviously genuinely high-risk climbing feels harder, I'd be the first to agree with you on that. That said, convincing yourself something will stick no matter how unlikely seeming becomes a lot easier if it hasn't slipped in the last ten times you tried it. Staying rational about that does take mental strength I agree but so do lots of other aspects of climbing.

> Yes - they see plenty of 'attention'. Attention which is somewhat out of proportion to the number of successful leads.

Maybe but there's a lot of ticks in the logbook given its lofty grade.

> Me, for a start. And I suspect a few others with good leading heads and weak arms.

Fine, thinking about it I think I also got to E1 before 6b+ but a lot of people do it the other way round. Anyway, surely by your reckoning a strong lead-head and weak arms would be ideal for bold slab redpointing?

jk
In reply to plexiglass_nick:

Surely the difference between red-pointing an 8a and head-pointing Gaia, is that one has bolts and the other doesn't. Focussing on the physical difficulty of doing the route is missing the main point (to my mind). It is easier to give 110% when the worst that can happen is a slump onto a bolt - a potential 40' fall (to the deck?) might affect most folks focus.


Chris
ads.ukclimbing.com
Quiddity - on 19 Aug 2010
In reply to Coel Hellier:

I don't think there are many who are advocating he goes out and works it until he gets it ticked. I think at most, people are reserving judgement on his level of natural ability and gently suggesting that maybe he tries it now, maybe he doesn't, but that he gets a few more routes and boulder problems under his belt until he is at the requisite level.

On the other hand many of those crying 'ridiculous' are in effect saying 'HVS leaders do not climb E8 - FACT' without acknowledging that the way you become an E8 headpointer is first by climbing HVS, then systematically working your way from E1 through to about E4/5 and then start picking projects and getting a rope on them. It's headpointing, it's not rocket science.
Coel Hellier - on 19 Aug 2010
In reply to plexiglass_nick:

> On the other hand many of those crying 'ridiculous' are in effect saying 'HVS leaders do not climb
> E8 - FACT' without acknowledging that the way you become an E8 headpointer is first by
> climbing HVS, then systematically working your way from E1 through to about E4/5 and then start
> picking projects and getting a rope on them. It's headpointing, it's not rocket science.

Yes, nick, it is VERY OBVIOUS that the normal way to become an E8 headpointer is to work up the grades over time. If people have not stated that it is because it is too obvious to need stating.

That does not alter the fact that people who are *NOW* HVS leaders with little or no experience above that do not climb E8 *NOW* -- FACT. And the idea is indeed ridiculous.
Quiddity - on 19 Aug 2010
In reply to Chris Craggs:

I'll forgive you for skim reading the essay but I did caveat that by saying 'and if you can redpoint F8a then Gaia is probably a realistic proposition given enough experience on bold and insecure grit.' :-)

Ok, sure - add in the requirement for being able to climb a route where you might die if you fall off, with a safety margin of 3 grades from your best RP. It's a specific skill (and one I don't have I should say) but that's not to say there aren't plenty of people who work up to it.
Gorrilla on 19 Aug 2010 - dyn161101.shef.ac.uk
In reply to DHeath4:

This thread sums up the UKC community nicely........
Quiddity - on 19 Aug 2010
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> Yes, nick, it is VERY OBVIOUS that the normal way to become an E8 headpointer is to work up the grades over time. If people have not stated that it is because it is too obvious to need stating.

Except that the waters have been muddied as people have started going on about an additional requirement for some ineffable natural talent, and I'm querying what exactly they mean by this, whether it is indeed innate or in fact acquirable through practice, and if the former whether it's really what will make the difference for something like a headpoint of Gaia if one is prepared to work hard enough.

The point that I came into this thread on, was 'yes, Gaia is a realistic goal but you are being unrealistic about the time frame - think 5 to 10 years of HARD work' and I'm sticking by it.

I would agree with you that UK 6c moves do not climb themselves.
Coel Hellier - on 19 Aug 2010
In reply to plexiglass_nick:

> The point that I came into this thread on, was 'yes, Gaia is a realistic goal but you are being
> unrealistic about the time frame - think 5 to 10 years of HARD work' and I'm sticking by it.

OK, on that point I agree with you. Headpointing Gaia is indeed a realistic goal for a young climber. It will indeed take "natural talent", but the only way to find out whether you really have that is to try and try hard to develop it (all natural talent needs developing to realise its potential).

I do, though, think that natural talent is important, and that most of us could not headpoint Gaia no matter how much we trained, tried and built up to it. Many people way underestimate the extent to which genetic factors influence capability; as a rule of thumb, roughly half the variation in human capability is down to genetics, meaning that training is important, but that you'll never be in the elite without the right genes.

For example, take a school class of kids all with similar background; by far the biggest factor determining the academic rank of those kids is genetics (many people do not like that fact and deny it, but the evidence is hard to contravert).
Skyfall - on 19 Aug 2010
I'll be another who adds a comment to say this thread is ridiculous but fascinating...

I speak as someone of very average (to low) climbing talent and indeed ability. Even when I was younger, obsessed, more stupid and would throw myself at stuff, it was clear that the physical difficulty of routes more than a couple of technical grades above my then lead limit were simply too hard for me. I could lead 5a/b, but couldn't get past 5c even on a TR, never mind beyond into 6a, b,c. So I resorted to climbing increasingly bold slabs where the tech skills were lower and strength certainly less of an issue. Eventually, I came unstuck at the E3 level and took a fairly nasty fall. Which did teach me a lesson.

Now I know the OP is not talking about going for the lead but to think that some average VS-E1 punter can jump on an E8 and even top rope it is ridiculous. "Most" punters at that level cannot do f6b+ (sorry but that's true - f6b+ is hard!) but I would virtually guarantee that 99% cannot do an english 6c move! If your limit is E1 and you can do english 6c then you're not really in the punter category, it's just that trad is simply not your thing. The OP is clearly not in that categoory. You don't dog VS-E1's if you can even get close to climbing english 6c!

Talent - yes, some peeople certainly have it. It may be a mix of body shape, instinctive trechnique, lead head etc. I suspect those who deny that talent plays an important part are in fact in denial because they themselves have talent and don't see it or won't admit it, for whatever reason.


Simon Caldwell - on 19 Aug 2010
In reply to the thread:

So, in summary, headpointing Gaia is feasible for any E1 climber with some natural ability who is prepared to put in sufficient time for training so that they are no longer an E1 climber.
Coel Hellier - on 19 Aug 2010
In reply to Toreador:

> So, in summary, headpointing Gaia is feasible for any E1 climber with some natural ability who
> is prepared to put in sufficient time for training so that they are no longer an E1 climber.

Excuse me, but that post is far too sensible and succinct for this thread!
Coel Hellier - on 19 Aug 2010
In reply to JonC:

> Now I know the OP is not talking about going for the lead but ...

Oh yes he is; read the first sentence of the thread.
Quiddity - on 19 Aug 2010
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> OK, on that point I agree with you. Headpointing Gaia is indeed a realistic goal for a young climber. It will indeed take "natural talent", but the only way to find out whether you really have that is to try and try hard to develop it (all natural talent needs developing to realise its potential).

Furthermore if it turns out you don't have this 'natural talent' then what are you going to do about it, other than work hard? We all have to do the best with the hand we have been dealt.

> I do, though, think that natural talent is important, and that most of us could not headpoint Gaia no matter how much we trained, tried and built up to it. Many people way underestimate the extent to which genetic factors influence capability; as a rule of thumb, roughly half the variation in human capability is down to genetics, meaning that training is important, but that you'll never be in the elite without the right genes.

I think this is the interesting point. What genetic factors is it that influence performance, relevant to something like Gaia? Physiological factors probably play a role for sure - tendon insertion points -> length of your levers, and all that. But do you think climbing is developed enough a sport yet that we are near the level where physiological variation between individuals genuinely makes a difference? For something like F9a I would believe that, or V15, but (physically speaking) F7b+ is just not that hard these days and I think within the ability of most if they try hard enough for long enough.

I think the psychologial factors are a bunch more relevant - those that mediate how quickly someone learns, how much they enjoy it, perseverence, goal-oriented behaviour, self-motivation and so on. As well as the factors that influence how well someone is able to compartmentalise, or 'switch-off' the part of their brain that is all too aware of the danger.


> For example, take a school class of kids all with similar background; by far the biggest factor determining the academic rank of those kids is genetics (many people do not like that fact and deny it, but the evidence is hard to contravert).

Out of interest what is the evidence for this? I would have thought most modern research supports an epigenetic view - that genetics does play a role but that it's genetics in combination with the child's environment that influences the outcome. For instance, a newborn might be genetically disposed to a particular temperament which disposes them to a lot of crying and difficulty in calming down. As a result it influences the amount and the quality of parental interaction, resulting in a slower language acquisiton and/or social skills. It's those factors which are most relevant to academic ability if assessed at the age of (say) 7. So yes, genetics have played a role but don't predict the variation of the outcome nearly as well as if you look at a combination of genetics and the child's social environment. There have been studies which have looked at making interventions in parental care (eg. providing education & support to parents of 'at risk children) which have shown an improvement in the outcome for the child compared to a control group - I forget exactly what was being measured but I don't think it was academic ability.

Sorry, wandering a bit OT but as I said I do find this stuff interesting.
Quiddity - on 19 Aug 2010
In reply to Toreador:

That's it in a nutshell.
Quiddity - on 19 Aug 2010
In reply to JonC:

That's certainly my experience of it. I remember when I was getting most UK 5c moves in a few tries, occasionally getting them onsight on sport routes. Some UK 6a moves felt ok if I got them wired or got lucky and pulled hard enough. UK 6b felt like the living end and UK 6c might as well have required magic.
Coel Hellier - on 19 Aug 2010
In reply to plexiglass_nick:

> I think the psychologial factors are a bunch more relevant ...

Yes I agree, boldness, coolness in a run-out, desire to train, etc, etc. But of course these things are just as much affected by genes as physiological factors (the brain is an organ created by genes just as much as the liver is). And if you take someone like Dawes it's the combination of physiological factors combined with the mental ability to use that body.
mkean - on 19 Aug 2010
In reply to plexiglass_nick:
UK 6b felt like the living end and UK 6c might as well have required magic.

6c does require magic, you need some powerful wizardry to climb 7a and 7b is a figment of your imagination :-)

Coel Hellier - on 19 Aug 2010
In reply to plexiglass_nick:

> I would have thought most modern research supports an epigenetic view - that genetics does play a
> role but that it's genetics in combination with the child's environment that influences the outcome.

Agreed, it's a complex interplay of the two.

> So yes, genetics have played a role but don't predict the variation of the outcome nearly as well as
> if you look at a combination of genetics and the child's social environment.

Agreed. As a rule of thumb, about half the variation is genetic, the other half environmental. So considering the two (or rather their complex interplay) will do much better than either alone.

But it would be wrong to regard us as completely pliable, and that environment/work/effort will always win out -- genetics are important to. 99.9% of us could never make an Olympic 100-m final no matter what upbringing or program of training we'd undergone from birth.
Gorrilla on 19 Aug 2010 - dyn161101.shef.ac.uk
In reply to mkean:

You guys are crazy, do outside and enjoy
metal arms on 19 Aug 2010
In reply to mkean:
> (In reply to plexiglass_nick)
> UK 6b felt like the living end and UK 6c might as well have required magic.
>
> 6c does require magic, you need some powerful wizardry to climb 7a and 7b is a figment of your imagination :-)

6c isn't that hard and 6b is approaching a rest. Fact.
mkean - on 19 Aug 2010
In reply to metal arms:
> 6c isn't that hard and 6b is approaching a rest. Fact.

Ben Moon is actually a wizard. Fact.
JimR - on 19 Aug 2010
In reply to DHeath4:

Just wonder what if Ondra had been toodling along at E1, what would have happened if he'd tried to toprope an E8 for the first time?
@ndyM@rsh@ll - on 19 Aug 2010
In reply to JimR: Considering that Ondra toodles along at about 8b+, i'd imagine he'd have been very very bored on E1, i'm also pretty sure he didn't get where he is now by trying to jump from 6a to 7c.
steve webster on 19 Aug 2010 - 10.215.3.66 [inetgw-60-sec.nhs.uk]
In reply to JimR:
there would have been an international incident as he would have been kidnapped and taken to another country.
Quiddity - on 19 Aug 2010
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> Agreed. As a rule of thumb, about half the variation is genetic, the other half environmental. So considering the two (or rather their complex interplay) will do much better than either alone.

Not exactly what I was getting at - the research pointed more to the importance of a 'goodness of fit' between the individual and their environment. ie. the genetic, or environmental factors, on their own, don't each predict half of the variation, but it's only when considered in combination that they become a good predictor. In the previous example it's not that the child's genes predict 50% of the outcome and the environment the other 50% - it's that a child with the same genetic makeup, in a different environment, may have had an entirely different outcome. I am sure I am oversimplifying massively.

The difference between an Olympic 100m final is that you need to need to be better than almost all of the competition - something like Gaia is more comparable to running a sub 3 hour or sub 2:45 marathon (I don't know exactly what - I am not a runner - but you get the picture). As I said I think the jury is still out on whether climbing is yet at the point where it is genetic factors holding us back.

> But of course these things are just as much affected by genes as physiological factors (the brain is an organ created by genes just as much as the liver is).

I am splitting hairs - yes I agree genes are important - the question is how much. Interestingly, the development of the brain differs from the development of the liver in that our best understanding is currently that the brain develops about 50% more neurons than it needs, of which some are selectively 'pruned' out between birth and the age of about 2. ie. the brain starts with a very redundant structure at birth but becomes more dedicated and fixed in architecture partly due to neural activity caused by processing of environmental stimuli. In summary the way the brain is 'wired' is not entirely genetically specified (indeed I don't think there is room on the genome for all synaptic connections to be genetically specified) but down to its interaction with the environment.

Back to climbing - one thing we've not really touched on is the social effect of your peer group. ie. if all of your mates climb E5 the chances are you will climb E5 within a relatively short space of time. A friend of mine who started not that long ago is regularly leading E1 and has led E2, in a fraction of the time it took me to get that far, in part because she climbs with her husband who onsights E4 - and warming up on E2 before getting on an E3 or E4 is the done thing for them on a day of trad. How hard your mates climb is not really considered a part of 'natural talent' but yet it's almost certainly a factor in those climbers who gone on to be outstandingly good and who you go climbing with is largely within one's control.
@ndyM@rsh@ll - on 19 Aug 2010
In reply to plexiglass_nick:
> (In reply to Coel Hellier)
> As I said I think the jury is still out on whether climbing is yet at the point where it is genetic factors holding us back.

Climbing is, Gaia definately is not.
Simon Caldwell - on 19 Aug 2010
In reply to @ndyM@rsh@ll:
> Considering that Ondra toodles along at about 8b+, i'd imagine he'd have been very very bored on E1

Toru Nakajima seemed to be having great fun soloing Severes at Black Rocks in between working Meshuga :-)
Coel Hellier - on 19 Aug 2010
In reply to plexiglass_nick:

> ... the genetic, or environmental factors, on their own, don't each predict half of the variation,
> but it's only when considered in combination that they become a good predictor. In the previous example
> it's not that the child's genes predict 50% of the outcome and the environment the other 50% -
> it's that a child with the same genetic makeup, in a different environment, may have had
> an entirely different outcome.

The combination of genes and environment predicts 100% of the variation (afterall genes and environment are all there is). It is indeed true that genes and enviroment each explain about 50% of normal human variation, but you are right that each alone does not determine outcome, because 50% of the influence is only 50%.

> As I said I think the jury is still out on whether climbing is yet at the point where it is
> genetic factors holding us back.

Of course they are! Much of the variation between how good different climbers are is down to genetics (just as much of the variation in most other human traits is down to genetics; for example two kids in the same family fed the same sort of food can end up at rather different heights).

> In summary the way the brain is 'wired' is not entirely genetically specified ...

Of course not. It's down to the interaction of genes and environment such that, as a rule of thumb, 50% of the variation of a trait is explained by genes, 50% by environment.

> How hard your mates climb is not really considered a part of 'natural talent' but yet it's
> almost certainly a factor [...]

Yep, it's part of "environment".
HDV - on 19 Aug 2010
In reply to plexiglass_nick:

> Not exactly what I was getting at - the research pointed more to the importance of a 'goodness of fit' between the individual and their environment. ie. the genetic, or environmental factors, on their own, don't each predict half of the variation, but it's only when considered in combination that they become a good predictor.

Slightly pedantic point, but that is something totally different to epigentics (which describes a process by which the environment causes heritable changes independent of the genetic sequence). What you are talking about is genotype x environment interaction (GxE), but what you say about their importance is quite correct.

Furthermore, motivation and training vs genetics do not have to be mutually exclusive. Very often behavioural traits are those that show the highest heritabilities. It could well be that committing the time and effort needed to train is a large part of 'natural talent'.

Hugh Cottam - on 19 Aug 2010
Is this officially the daftest thread ever on UKC?
jon on 19 Aug 2010
In reply to Hugh Cottam:
> Is this officially the daftest thread ever on UKC?

Yes, but by a long way? I wouldn't think so.... I wonder what the OP thinks now!

Simon Caldwell - on 19 Aug 2010
In reply to Hugh Cottam:
> Is this officially the daftest thread ever on UKC?

Not sure, there was something about a photo of a dog recently that was pretty silly...
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johnj on 19 Aug 2010 - 88-104-135-157.dynamic.dsl.as9105.com
In reply to Hugh Cottam:
> Is this officially the daftest thread ever on UKC?

It depends if you want to get into the subject of anti-gravity. From what I read (very basic I must admit) the leading thinkers in the field describe gravity as a force as we well know; however they model it as a whirlpool with the gravity pulling to the core; but it does not stop there it then pours out upwards in smaller quantities; i.e what goes down must go up.
The Tibetan Monks understand this and use harmonics and tuned shapes to float items into the air, using their ancient methods and teachings to disconnect with the primary down forces and connect to the returning lesser forces.

How you can apply these techniques to improving your rock climbing abilities is another topic, or a series of topics, as it covers a vast amount of spiritual teachings, but for the context of the thread named 'Gaia Fall' it has some relevance ;+)
Niall - on 19 Aug 2010
In reply to johnj:

If you put a VS leader who headpoints E8 on a conveyor belt, what would happen?
johnj on 19 Aug 2010 - 88-104-135-157.dynamic.dsl.as9105.com
In reply to Niall:

Would they be in Hawaii checking out the Foxy ladies?
franksnb - on 19 Aug 2010
In reply to jkarran: firestone is graded E7 for the onsite SOLO not roped.
Niall - on 19 Aug 2010
In reply to johnj:

Or would they be a bit glum in a florists?
Quiddity - on 19 Aug 2010
In reply to HDV:

I probably mean 'interactionist' or something similar in this context - fair point!

I agree entirely with your last paragraph and this is part of the point I am trying to make - badly. 'talent' is no one single thing but a wide range of factors, which are varyingly innate, socially influenced, developed through practice or otherwise consciously controllable over time.
johnj on 19 Aug 2010 - 88-104-135-157.dynamic.dsl.as9105.com
In reply to Niall:

I dunno, as you asked the question I'd have presumed you knew the answer, but now I see it was a slightly rhetorical inflection.
Quiddity - on 19 Aug 2010
In reply to Coel Hellier:

We are well OT now but suffice it to say that with all respect I'm not convinced by the explanatory power of, or the evidence supporting, your 50:50 rule of thumb - sorry! Yes genes and the environment are all there is but all the evidence suggests they are relevant to greater or lesser degrees depending on exactly what you are talking about.
jkarran - on 19 Aug 2010
In reply to franksnb:

> (In reply to jkarran) firestone is graded E7 for the onsite SOLO not roped.

No, it's graded E7 fullstop <yawn>

I appreciate pre-practice significantly changes the experience, in fact that was the essence of my point.

Incidentally, who do you think graded it onsite [sic]?
jk
Niall - on 19 Aug 2010
In reply to jkarran:

Is onsite the same as 'in situ'?
Coel Hellier - on 19 Aug 2010
In reply to plexiglass_nick:

> 'talent' is no one single thing but a wide range of factors, which are varyingly innate, socially influenced,
> developed through practice or otherwise consciously controllable over time.

Getting a bit semantic, "talent" is usually taken as the first of those, with "ability" being talent plus all the others.
Niall - on 19 Aug 2010
In reply to johnj:
> (In reply to Niall)
>
> I dunno, as you asked the question I'd have presumed you knew the answer, but now I see it was a slightly rhetorical inflection.

You're very kind, I saw it as me posting random crap on my day off :-)
JimR - on 19 Aug 2010
In reply to plexiglass_nick:

with regard to genes, how much is physical and how much is mental?
eg if you had a brain transplant with Johnny Dawes, would you climb like him or would he climb like you .. or would you both be fvcked?
Coel Hellier - on 19 Aug 2010
In reply to plexiglass_nick:

> I'm not convinced by the explanatory power of, or the evidence supporting, your 50:50 rule of thumb - sorry!

The best evidence is the twin studies (identical twins raised apart), where one can separate genetic and other factors.

> Yes genes and the environment are all there is but all the evidence suggests they are relevant
> to greater or lesser degrees depending on exactly what you are talking about.

Yes indeed, hence the term "rule of thumb". Heritability of traits varies, and the amount explained by genes can easily range between 30% to 70% for different traits. My "rule of thumb" 50% is a shorthand for that.

You also have to be clear about the sample being compared: a sample of kids all in one school is very different from a sample of one from each of France, Japan, Chile, etc, and the genetic-to-environment ratio will of course be changed by that.

But, the central point of all this is that genetic factors (aka "innate talent") are a very important part of the package, and the outcome is not due to environmental differences alone.
Quiddity - on 19 Aug 2010
In reply to Coel Hellier:

I would speculate that most of the factors that climbers generally cite under 'talent' would have a pretty low heritability. Certainly below 50%. But hey-ho we'll never know.

If you are saying that 'talent' is, by definition, exclusively the heritable aspects of climbing performance then that is semantics but a) not particularly helpful and b) I would argue probably not that relevant to being able to get someone up Gaia assuming unlimited time and motivation (if indeed motivation isn't a heritable aspect of climbing performance).
Dan J M on 19 Aug 2010
In reply to DHeath4:

Bet you didn't expect all this when you started the thread, eh mate?
Only a hill - on 19 Aug 2010
In reply to DHeath4:

All this fuss over a single pitch of rock that 99% of climbers will never have the ability or inclination to climb!
Quiddity - on 19 Aug 2010
In reply to Coel Hellier:

As I understand it a lot of the classic twin studies have some significant methodological problems which I don't know have been solved in later research. One problem is how twins are recruited for the studies - a frequent assumption, for example, is that twins 'raised apart' are separated at birth whereas twins 'raised together' share an exactly identical environment, but the methods used to recruit participants for the research tended to increase the likelihood that separated twins had in fact remained in contact. Rose et al. (1988) found in a very large sample of adult twins found that MZ twins continued to have substantially more contact than DZ twins.

In any event event yes the heritability studies for psychological traits do produce numbers in the 50% ball park but different studies of the same trait produce massively different results - eg. heritability estimates for Neuroticism vary from 0.25 (Pedersen et al 1988) to 0.53 (Loelin and Nichols 1976). But the point I was making above, is that psychological traits can't be regarded as simple causative factors in behaviour, and explaining 50% of the variation in a psychological trait as assessed by psychometric tests (and there are problems with that as well - eg. psychometric tests are not good at recognising that a lot of manifestations of a trait are very situation specific) is not the same as saying that 50% of the variation in outcome behaviour is explicable by genes. People are just too complex for psychological traits to map on to manifest behaviour that easily.
JimR - on 19 Aug 2010
In reply to plexiglass_nick:
> (In reply to Coel Hellier)
>
> As I understand it a lot of the classic twin studies have some significant methodological problems which I don't know have been solved in later research. One problem is how twins are recruited for the studies - a frequent assumption, for example, is that twins 'raised apart' are separated at birth whereas twins 'raised together' share an exactly identical environment, but the methods used to recruit participants for the research tended to increase the likelihood that separated twins had in fact remained in contact. Rose et al. (1988) found in a very large sample of adult twins found that MZ twins continued to have substantially more contact than DZ twins.
>
> In any event event yes the heritability studies for psychological traits do produce numbers in the 50% ball park but different studies of the same trait produce massively different results - eg. heritability estimates for Neuroticism vary from 0.25 (Pedersen et al 1988) to 0.53 (Loelin and Nichols 1976). But the point I was making above, is that psychological traits can't be regarded as simple causative factors in behaviour, and explaining 50% of the variation in a psychological trait as assessed by psychometric tests (and there are problems with that as well - eg. psychometric tests are not good at recognising that a lot of manifestations of a trait are very situation specific) is not the same as saying that 50% of the variation in outcome behaviour is explicable by genes. People are just too complex for psychological traits to map on to manifest behaviour that easily.


Is it just me, or is that just a load of gobbledegook saying precisely nothing?
Coel Hellier - on 19 Aug 2010
In reply to plexiglass_nick:

> I would argue probably not that relevant to being able to get someone up Gaia assuming unlimited time
> and motivation (if indeed motivation isn't a heritable aspect of climbing performance).

But very likely motivation *is* a heritable aspect of performance. This is the point I was making earlier, that the brain is just as much a biological organ resulting from the playing out of a genetic recipe as other organs of our body. Thus variations in mental attitudes and capabilities are *just* as likely to be genetic as variations in physiological things.

Indeed, for example, academic performance (ranking within a class of school kids) is very much under genetic influence, with about a 70% heritability (as determined from twin studies).
Coel Hellier - on 19 Aug 2010
In reply to plexiglass_nick:

> As I understand it a lot of the classic twin studies have some significant methodological problems [...]
> but the methods used to recruit participants for the research tended to increase the likelihood that
> separated twins had in fact remained in contact. Rose et al. (1988) found in a very large sample of
> adult twins found that MZ twins continued to have substantially more contact than DZ twins.

But the Rose etal study was of a cohort of twins who had not been separated. So it is not all that surprising that in adult life those MZ twins have more contact than the DZ twins. That cannot be carried over to the classic separated-at-birth twin studies.

> ... different studies of the same trait produce massively different results - eg. heritability estimates
> for Neuroticism vary from 0.25 (Pedersen et al 1988) to 0.53 (Loelin and Nichols 1976).

OK, so these studies are hard and produce a range of results. But both of those estimates tell us that genetic factors have a significant influence on variability of a mental attitude -- which is the essential of my point; I'm open to revision on the specifics of exactly how important (and I'd guess that it varies a lot from trait to trait).

> ... and explaining 50% of the variation in a psychological trait ... is not the same as saying
> that 50% of the variation in outcome behaviour is explicable by genes. People are just too complex
> for psychological traits to map on to manifest behaviour that easily.

I will agree with you that people are complex and that you can't make simple one-to-one mappings. However I don't agree that the fact that it is complex means that genetic factors become unimportant or that we can't make estimates of their degree of influence.

Summarising my position, I think the evidence is clear that, where a group of humans show a range of abilities at something they've tried to do, their genetic makeup will have had a substantial influence on that outcome. Quite likely that genetic influence will be in the range of 0.20 to 0.70 of the total variation.
Quiddity - on 19 Aug 2010
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> This is the point I was making earlier, that the brain is just as much a biological organ resulting from the playing out of a genetic recipe as other organs of our body. Thus variations in mental attitudes and capabilities are *just* as likely to be genetic as variations in physiological things.

Your second point doesn't really follow from your first, unless you subscribe to a very mechanistic view of the relationship between brain and mind or brain and behaviour.

As I argued above, there is a lot about brain development which is not genetically specified, to the best of our understanding. There just isn't enough room on the genome to encode something like 10^14 connections between neurons. Our best understanding is that the brain is innately biased to develop in a particular way, say with language faculties localised to the left temporal lobe, but that there is sufficient redundancy during infacy that it can develop in other ways if necessary, such as in the event of brain injury, when those functions can be localised elsewhere. The evidence suggests that the brain is NOT like other organs, in that its plasticity means that different regions can support different functions between individuals, depending on environmental influences. Some research has been done on the differences in adult brain organisation between those exposed to different languages during development - it would be wrong in this instance to think that the way the brain becomes 'wired' is down to genetics though obviously genetics plays a part.

In any event there isn't a 1:1 relationship between the structure of the brain and features of the *mind*, such as, say, motivation or goal-oriented behaviour.

I would agree that to some extent motivation is heritable but that it's partly, if not mostly, influenced by other factors.

Sorry, I need to wrap this up here but I feel we are largely going round in circles anyway and no doubt this thread will still be raging at a later time to come back to. Won't that be fun!
Quiddity - on 19 Aug 2010
In reply to Coel Hellier:

I'm not convinced the evidence is as clear cut as you make out and I think it depends on what the thing in question is. I'd agree with your range of 0.2 to 0.7 for the general field of human endeavour but as climbing is such a complex mix of abilities with options for using strategies or specialisations to mitigate against a less advantageous genetic makeup in one area, I'd put it at the lower end of that scale.
Coel Hellier - on 19 Aug 2010
In reply to plexiglass_nick:

> I'd agree with your range of 0.2 to 0.7 for the general field of human endeavour but as climbing
> is such a complex mix of abilities with options for using strategies or specialisations to mitigate
> against a less advantageous genetic makeup in one area, I'd put it at the lower end of that scale.

I don't agree that it being complex and multi-faceted would inevitably put it at the lower end of the scale. Yes, things like training can mitigate against weaknesses, but things like "motivation to train" are just as likely to be genetically influenced as anything else.
JimR - on 19 Aug 2010
In reply to Coel Hellier:

for the less technically minded, Gladwell's Outliers is a good thought provoking read. His argument is that motivation is inheritated either culturally or genetically. How he seperates that from environment, though, is another question. Good read though.
nikk44 - on 19 Aug 2010
In reply to JimR: No. It's not gobbledegook. I think it is subtle and trying to give a reasoned answer, accepting of the limitations of science, to a difficult question.

A refreshing change to hear from someone who has an informed perspective on a difficult issue (rather than a voice in the crowd screaming mere assertions).
tallsop on 19 Aug 2010
In reply to DHeath4: What a bunch of f*cking train spotters, honestly, makes me wanna hang my boots up when i come on these shit threads. Is there a log pile on ukc? - this thread clearly belongs on one...
jkarran - on 19 Aug 2010
In reply to tallsop:

So why contribute if it makes you want to quit? Were you just keen to shout inarticulate insults at strangers, feel a little more superior?

jk
Quiddity - on 19 Aug 2010
In reply to tallsop:

really? I think it has evolved into a debate on whether there is any such thing as 'natural talent', what it might be and how important it is. I think that is interesting though I appreciate not everyone does.

If it doesn't interest you why read it?

oh well one less on the crags I suppose.
Derek O - on 19 Aug 2010
In reply to tallsop:
> What a bunch of f*cking train spotters

Good call, I couldnt think of the word for it! The train spotters are getting a bit defensive now ;)

ads.ukclimbing.com
jonwright - on 19 Aug 2010
In reply to DHeath4: Hi - just looked at your profile - I think we met in the lakes last month - you retreived a hex that I'd dropped. Best of luck - looks very scary to me!
Dan J M on 20 Aug 2010
In reply to plexiglass_nick:
> (In reply to tallsop)
>
> really? I think it has evolved into a debate on whether there is any such thing as 'natural talent', what it might be and how important it is.


Perhaps he's been wound up by the 2000+ word diatribes (with extensive citations but no bibliography to go with them).
Michael Gordon - on 20 Aug 2010
In reply to jkarran:
> (In reply to Michael Gordon)
>
> You've no profile so I could be setting myself up for a fall but of curiosity, have you tried any redpointing?

I have headpointed but nothing hard (only one grade above my onsight grade)

>
> I'd be AMAZED if a suitably psyched E1 leader *couldn't* headpoint something like Life Assurance (E6, F6b+ according to http://gritlist.wetpaint.com/ and reputedly at the easier end of that). How many folk get to E1 without being able to onsight 6b+... not many. Add in the redpoint aspect which makes a HUGE difference and the survivable fall should it all go wrong. What's stopping people... lack of belief, lack of knowledge, scornful comments from peers as demonstrated above... who knows? Actually, thinking about it, there's not much stopping people, routes like that see plenty of redpoint attention from folk without much 'pedigree'.
>

Forgive me for ignoring the suggested sport grade here as I don't see the sense in applying these to trad routes.

A good reason why I'm pretty sure an E1 climber would get nowhere is that Life Assurance is given british 6b! Utterly nails. To be honest someone for whom E1 is their limit I would thought would struggle to do 6a moves, even with work. They also have to do this a good way above gear. It's just not going to happen.

I'm surprised at the width in your grade levels. Mine would be more like 6a, 5c, 5b. I certainly couldn't onsight 6b+ when E1 was my limit, and still struggle to now.
irish paul - on 20 Aug 2010
In reply to Michael Gordon: I have a friend who was climbing around the E1/E2 [pretty solid on the E1s]mark who managed to headpoint an E6 in the Avon Gorge. E1 is the equivalent of say french 6a and I know alot more people who lead harder than that but don't get on E2 or harder. So its quite concievable they could headpoint MUCH harder than they lead!
franksnb - on 20 Aug 2010
In reply to jkarran: all grades are for the onsite
jkarran - on 20 Aug 2010
In reply to franksnb:

Grades are just grades. How you climb is up to you.
jk
Byronius Maximus - on 20 Aug 2010
In reply to franksnb:
> (In reply to jkarran) all grades are for the onsite

Of course they are, that's just a simple question of physics. It is impossible to do the route unless you are on site. If you are at another site, then the grade is irrelevant because the route isn't even there (at that site).

/pedant
mkean - on 20 Aug 2010
In reply to Byronius Maximus:
> Of course they are, that's just a simple question of physics. It is impossible to do the route unless you are on site.

Thanks to a combination of Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle and poor route finding I Soloed Parthian Shot while at Swanage. Fact.
franksnb - on 20 Aug 2010
In reply to jkarran:

adding a bouldering mat takes you down a few E grades on many routes.

beta/ practising/ top roping all reduce the grade.

you cannot grade a route responsibly by grading for a pre-practiced accent, that's just asking to hurt people.

the logical continuation of this mind set is that grades are for the onsite in 99.999% of climbs.

how you climb is up to you, grades are grades. but chasing grades by practising is not going to give you the equivalent on site experience, that nearly all routes are graded for.


stayfreejc - on 20 Aug 2010
In reply to DHeath4: Why don't you bolt it to make it safer?
Michael Gordon - on 20 Aug 2010
In reply to franksnb:
practising is not going to give you the equivalent on site experience

well obviously. If you're trying routes above your onsight grade you kind of hope that will be the case!

Orgsm on 20 Aug 2010
In reply to DHeath4:

Good luck on top roping it this weekend.

Let us know how you get on.
Michael Gordon - on 20 Aug 2010
In reply to irish paul:

I suppose if they hadn't applied the same amount of effort to climbing trad well as they had sport then it's possible to suddenly do something like that. They must have been climbing F7s surely?
Gazleah on 20 Aug 2010
In reply to bomb: i dont think this is that unreasonable. this year i went from E2 to E8 and 6C to nearly finishing 8a. Hard work can definitely achieve great things
Jamie B - on 20 Aug 2010
In reply to Michael Gordon:

> A good reason why I'm pretty sure an E1 climber would get nowhere is that Life Assurance is given british 6b! Utterly nails. To be honest someone for whom E1 is their limit I would thought would struggle to do 6a moves, even with work.

But is E1 their limit, or just the grade that they choose to climb at? A truly solid E1 leader will climb 5c every time so will probably have at least 50/50 success rate on 6a, so maybe worked 6b is not so far away?
Michael Gordon - on 21 Aug 2010
In reply to Jamie Bankhead:

If you can climb 5c every time then you're limit won't be E1.
bomb on 22 Aug 2010 - host86-175-116-21.wlms-broadband.com
In reply to tallsop:

You're not on your own mate.
Jamie B - on 22 Aug 2010
In reply to Michael Gordon:

> If you can climb 5c every time then you're limit won't be E1.

It shouldnt be, but some people choose to impose a limit on themselves.

MorganPreece - on 22 Aug 2010
In reply to DHeath4:
Your 18 you have years and years left, work ur way up the grades like most other people do! Gaia will always be there. take care
arthur kneegus on 25 Aug 2010 - cpc1-shef1-0-0-cust406.barn.cable.virginmedia.com
Didn't Stevie Haston take his dad up an E3 his first climb ..... I seem to remember him writing about it in his ( much missed ) OTE column ..... And personally I'd drive a cherry picker up to Black Rocks to check out the last moves on Gaia .....
Daniel Heath - on 26 Aug 2010
In reply to Daniel Heath:

Hi all, I tried the route today
and got truly spanked by it!

Here's my experience (a bit of beta obv):

We only had one 50m rope unfortunately, so a top rope was hard to set up. The belayer had to sit at the top, so he could not see (or hear) the climber. Also, the rope fell 6 feet left of the crack. This was not the most comfortable way to try a hard route!

The first move: no chance! I'm definitely not strong enough. In fact I think I was resticted more by flexibility. When my right leg was straight out, my left was bent and my body was too low. You really need to have both legs straight out 90deg to each other.

The crack was pretty straightforward, but the hard move was rocking into the "rest" position. Again, I think my flexibilty (right leg) restricted this move.

Finally, the infamous sloper was really not too bad. It's this that realy inspired me in the first place, but it's a nice angle.

I'm glad I've tried it, because now I've got it it out my system and I can revert to doing sensible grades as before.

I think it's good that these climbs are not hallowed pieces of rock but avaiable to everyone. Even if you have no chance of completing the route, you catch a glimpse of the experience of the amazing climbers, and leave with a much greater respect for them. The thought of Alex Honnold flashing those moves, especially now I fully appreciate them, is awe-inspiring.
Jon_Warner - on 26 Aug 2010
In reply to Daniel Heath: great stuff for giving it a go!! in total agreement about your 'hallowed rock' statement
banned profile 74 on 26 Aug 2010 - 84.93.187.63.homesurf.pte-ag1.dyn.plus.net
In reply to Daniel Heath: i flashed it on a top rope but wouldnt lead it!!the top bit isnt bad at all just commiting,its only really one hard move imho.i flashed end of the affair on a rope too but wouldnt lead that either!i top roped kaluza climb o/s then another 2 times without falling and still didnt lead it so even if you somehow get gaia on a top rope in a 1er its still totally different leading it!!
chrisbaggy - on 26 Aug 2010
In reply to mkean:
> (In reply to Jon Read)
> [...]
>
> Smashing I'll have a pop at it then, how many mats do you think I'd need to make the top safe?
>
> :-)

well its 20m so at say 100mm for a bouldering mat I reckon if you put 190-200 mats would protect the top move.

;)

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